Taiwan targets blood-borne ‘silent killer’ hepatitis C, which affects 58 million people worldwide
⚠ Island has about 400,000 cases of disease, with nearly 7,000 new cases annually, but most of those infected can be asymptomatic and unaware of their condition
Although new antiviral medicines can cure nearly 98 per cent of cases, most people infected by the virus can be asymptomatic and unaware of their condition for decades, making diagnosis difficult and halting the spread an even bigger challenge. It also makes the disease more dangerous.
Dr. Yu Ming-lung, chair professor at the College of Medicine at Kaohsiung Medical University, in Taiwan, says that single-use syringes – something many people now take for granted in everyday medical procedures – were not widely available in Taiwan 40 years ago, especially in less developed areas. As a result, HCV may have spread among residents in these rural communities through contaminated medical equipment. Mothers with the disease can also pass on the virus to their newborn children.
source South China Morning Post