About 38 million Chinese are carrying the hepatitis C virus
(HCV), but public understanding of the disease is low, said the
China Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC) on
The incidence of hepatitis C has surged in the past few years,
said a CFHPC report.
The disease was identified in 1989, and research found that a
majority of its infections became chronic and led to liver
disorders, including cancer.
The Ministry of Health said early this month that hepatitis C
was one of China's top five deadly epidemics.
But the public is not well informed about the disease, the CFHPC
said, citing its latest survey that indicated only 1 percent of the
respondents were aware of how HCV spreads and how to prevent it.
Only 5 percent have had a test for HCV.
No HCV vaccine is available, yet 80 percent of those surveyed
believed that they could be protected against hepatitis C by a
vaccine, the report said.
Although the virus can be eradicated or controlled in the early
stages of the disease through proper therapy, about 30 percent of
those surveyed said there was no cure for hepatitis C.
Many also confused hepatitis C with hepatitis B, the CFHPC
Clinical research in China and abroad showed that 70 percent of
the HVC carriers could be cured if diagnosed at an early stage, the
report said. "The whole society should work to improve the public
awareness of HCV so that the carriers could be diagnosed and
treated as early as possible."
The CFHPC suggested that the government tighten controls on
blood products and expand HVC testing.
HCV usually spreads through contact with infected blood, sex
with an infected person or from mother to baby during
(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2007)