Tuesday , June 28 2022

Migration could be a risk factor for hepatitis C virus infections


Dr. David Kershenobich today said that the often complicated health conditions of migrants, along with other risk factors, can influence infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C, to increase their incidence and prevalence in the places they reach. .

Kershenobich, director of the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition (Incmnsz), noted that 71 million people are currently infected with hepatitis C in the world. However, 90% of them do not know.

In Mexico, it is estimated that there are about 600,000 people suffering from this disease.

It is a disease that can be easily transmitted because the transporter is unaware of his condition until complications develop, he said.

Since the end of October, thousands of migrants from Central America – about 11,500 people, mostly from Honduras and El Salvador – have been traveling through Mexico to get to the United States after fleeing violence and poverty from their countries.

The specialist explained that, due to lack of diagnosis, at least 25% of the infected person develop cirrhosis or liver cancer, which is why timely detection is essential because it is a preventive and curable disease.

The expert pointed out that detection of this disease can be done prematurely because the window of infection is eight days "so that the test can be done at that time and can be positive".

In Mexico, he explained, only 1% of people with hepatitis C have treatments, so it is also essential that patients have access to treatment to avoid complications.

This, he said, could save up to 2.4 million pesos ($ 120,775) per patient per year, as it is estimated that this is the cost each patient represents for the Mexican health system.

He stressed that Mexico could control this disease by screening, testing the population in general "that would help diagnose and treat in time".

Dr. Kershenobich explained that the population should know the main risk factors.

"Among them are people born between 1945 and 1965, who had transfusions before 1995, intravenous drug users, people who were imprisoned, HIV patients, hemodialysis patients and diabetes," he said.

He explained that the group of diabetics is particularly worrying because it is a condition that is already an epidemiological emergency in Mexico.

However, he said that the primary responsibility of health systems is to look for so-called "hidden patients," and for this, the screening test should be routine throughout the population.

"Especially in addiction centers, in penitentiaries, and that this extends to medical and medical staff, in addition to having to reach the most remote areas of the country," he said.

In the same way, he stressed that it is necessary to have detection and information campaigns about this disease "because it is a disease that has a healing rate of 96% and this is done in only 12 weeks," he said.

Finally, Director Incmnsz pointed out that it is necessary to promote a patient register in order to know what the incidence and prevalence of this condition is indeed, and thus be able to generate care guidelines and public policies for the comprehensive care of these patients. EFE


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