WHO releases new guidance on hepatitis

In February 2016, WHO released 2 new hepatitis publications to assist and guide countries in the treatment and surveillance of hepatitis. Since the first issue of the guidelines in 2014, several new medicines that are transforming the treatment of hepatitis infection have been introduced.

The policy brief "New recommendations in the updated WHO guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C infection" – to be followed by the full updated recommendations – provides evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of persons using, where possible, all-oral combinations of these new medicines, also called direct-acting antivirals.

Many countries lack the epidemiological information needed to plan, implement, monitor, evaluate and update national strategies for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis. The report "Technical considerations and case definitions to improve surveillance for viral hepatitis" provides tools to optimize surveillance and generate information that can effectively instruct prevention, control and treatment policies. An important aspect of this publication is the case definitions, proposed by WHO, for all types of acute and chronic hepatitis.