Free CME Course Helps Physicians Identify and Care for Patients with Liver Disease
Primary care providers are on the front lines of implementing the CDC’s recommendation to screen all baby boomers—people born from 1945 to1965—for hepatitis C. In addition, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently upgraded to B its recommendation for hepatitis B (HBV) screening of persons at high risk of infection.
To help improve primary care physicians’ knowledge of these diseases, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), in collaboration with ECHO, the American College of Physicians (ACP), CDC, and Department of Veterans Affairs, has developed ACT-First, a free, online CME course.
After completing the course, physicians will know which patients to screen for liver diseases, how to screen, what to do in the patient with positive serologies, what to tell the patient, and how to decide who is a candidate for therapy.
Updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
Updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
Building on the success of the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), and Veterans Affairs (VA) released a 3-year update of the plan.
The updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan builds on the foundation of the original action plan and is organized around six priority areas:
- Educate health care providers and communities to reduce health disparities
- Improve testing, care, and treatment to prevent liver disease and cancer
- Strengthen surveillance to detect viral hepatitis transmission and disease
- Eliminate transmission of vaccine-preventable viral hepatitis
- Reduce viral hepatitis caused by drug-use behaviors
- Protect patients and workers from health-care associated viral hepatitis
This Viral Hepatitis Action Plan underscores that its national goals cannot be achieved through federal action alone and needs active involvement of and innovation by a broad mix of nonfederal stakeholders to engage to strengthen the nation’s response to viral hepatitis.
- Updated Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016)
- Factsheet on the updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
- HHS Press statement
MMWR: Rapid Hepatitis C Testing Among Persons at Increased Risk for Infection - Wisconsin, 2012–2013
During 2003–2012, reports of HCV infection increased from 15 to 54 cases per 100,000 among persons aged <30 years in Wisconsin, and 58% of persons in this age group with acute HCV infection reported injecting drugs.
To increase detection of HCV infection, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) piloted a program during Oct. 2012–Oct. 2013 that offered rapid HCV testing to clients of four agencies providing various harm reduction services to persons with drug dependence.
During that period, 1,255 persons were tested using a rapid HCV test, and 246 (20%) of the results were positive. Most (72%) of the infections had not been reported to WDPH.
A blood specimen for further testing was collected from 192 (78%) participants with positive HCV test results; among these participants, 183 were tested for HCV RNA using reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and these results were positive for 128 (70%) participants, indicating active infection. Use of the rapid HCV test detected previously unreported HCV infections and raised awareness of HCV.
Persons identified with active HCV infection should be referred to medical care and counseled on ways to prevent HCV transmission to others.