Named the most dangerous virus (and it's not HIV)
“Hepatitis kills more people than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Such a sad course of events is due to the fact that the fight against hepatitis has never been included in the political priorities of all the leading countries of the world and that there are no global systems to finance such projects, ”commented Charles Gore, president of the World Alliance to combat hepatitis.
Each year, WHO and other UN health services publish in Lancet magazine reports on what diseases and health problems concern mankind today and how many years of life they take. The reports serve as a guide to action for the political bodies of the UN and the health services of individual countries.
This year, the authors did not focus on diseases caused by problems in the human body or poor living conditions, but on viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. To compile a picture of their evolution over the past 40 years, scientists have collected and analyzed medical archives from 147 countries of the world.
Infections account for an average of approximately 19.4% of deaths over the years, and their total number is gradually increasing. Scientists attribute this to the deterioration of health standards and a sharp increase in population in developing countries.
The leading role, to some surprise of the authors of the report themselves, was taken by viral hepatitis - in recent years it has claimed the lives of approximately 1.34 million people. The cause of death was not only the disease itself, but also the cirrhosis and liver cancer associated with it and other complications. Tuberculosis took the second place with 1.2 million deaths, the third - HIV, which killed about a million people, and the fourth - malaria (719 thousand victims).
These figures, as doctors note, are still rather modest estimates: only 25 countries, including Russia, provide fairly reliable statistics on mortality. The actual number of victims of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases can be noticeably large.
Hepatitis is dangerous because the number of deaths caused by it has not decreased in recent years, as happened with HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but increased by 22%.
One of the reasons for this, in addition to the lack of funding and the high cost of vaccines and drugs for hepatitis, is that most people do not suspect that they are infected with this virus. According to current estimates of researchers, only 5% of residents of developed and developing countries are aware of their diagnosis and are being treated in medical institutions.
Interestingly, Zika virus became the most “promoted”, but not dangerous pathogen, - it accounts for only two deaths in 2015 and 19 lost lives in 2016. According to scientists, the trend will continue in the future, while the Zika virus is unlikely to pose a significant threat, which will give scientists time to create a vaccine to combat it.