ATLANTA, April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, HepVu launched a new interactive website that visualizes the first standardized state-level estimates of people with past or current Hepatitis C infection across the United States. One of the most critical challenges in our national response to viral hepatitis is limited data to monitor the epidemic locally and nationally. The public health surveillance system for Hepatitis C is not as comprehensive as it is for other infectious diseases, which makes it a challenge to understand the scope of the epidemic. HepVu takes an important step forward toward developing a more complete understanding of the epidemic by mapping state-level data on Hepatitis C mortality and Hepatitis C antibody prevalence estimates generated by Emory University’s Coalition for Applied Modeling for Prevention (CAMP), a project supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Deaths associated with Hepatitis C continue to surpass the total combined number of deaths from 60 other reportable infectious diseases, including HIV, pneumococcal disease, and tuberculosis. The greatest burden of Hepatitis C falls on baby boomers – those born from 1945 to 1965 – many of whom have unknowingly been living with the infection for many years. 

Overall, it is estimated that 3.9 million Americans have antibodies to Hepatitis C.  Antibodies to HCV indicate past or current HCV infection; some people exposed to Hepatitis C clear the virus from their bodies, but still have antibody evidence of past infection.  HepVu.org prevalence estimates are based on the number of people who have this antibody evidence of exposure to Hepatitis C, because this is the most inclusive indicator of the reach of the epidemic and informs public health strategies to address the epidemic. 

«HepVu empowers hepatitis advocates, state health departments, and policy makers to use data-driven tools to push for better programs to provide testing, care and treatment for HCV for people in need of these services across the nation,» said Patrick Sullivan, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and Principal Scientist for HepVu. «By mapping the epidemic, HepVu helps us understand which states are most impacted by Hepatitis C, and where we need to focus our screening and treatment resources.»

HepVu is a project of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. HepVu data finds that:

  • The Western U.S. had the highest rate of people with evidence of Hepatitis C infection, with 10 of the region’s 13 states having an estimated Hepatitis C antibody prevalence rate above the national average of 1,670 Hepatitis C cases per 100,000 persons (2010).
  • Eight states—California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Ohio and Washington—make up more than 50% of all persons living with evidence of Hepatitis C infection (2010).
  • There were an estimated 1.56 million persons with evidence of Hepatitis C infection in the South, the highest of any region (2010).

Key features of the HepVu website include:

  • Interactive maps that allow users to view:
    • State-level estimates of Hepatitis C antibody prevalence cases and rates (2010)
    • State-level Hepatitis C mortality cases and rates (2014) by sex, race, and age
  • Resources:
    • Downloadable national, state, and regional maps of estimated Hepatitis C antibody prevalence rates
    • Downloadable national maps of reported Hepatitis C mortality rates
    • Hepatitis B and C infographics
    • State profile fact sheets with comparisons of state, regional and national antibody prevalence and mortality rates
    • Featured blogs from viral hepatitis experts

The state-level Hepatitis C antibody prevalence estimates displayed on HepVu are derived from an Emory University Coalition for Applied Modeling for Prevention (CAMP) modeling project, «Estimation of State-level Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection, US States and District of Columbia, 2010,» which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in April 2017.

About HepVu

HepVu.org is an interactive online resource that strives to offer a deeper understanding of the Hepatitis epidemic across the U.S., by visualizing people living with evidence of Hepatitis C at the state level. HepVu is a Powered By AIDSVu project presented by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc.

About the Rollins School of Public Health

The Rollins School of Public Health is part of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The school houses six academic departments, 20 multidisciplinary centers – including an NIH-supported Center for AIDS Research – and more than 160 full-time doctoral-level faculty members.

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SOURCE HepVu