CAIRO: A recent study released earlier this month concerning the severity of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Egypt has been refuted by the Egyptian Ministry of Health.
The study, conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), estimated that more than half a million people are infected annually with HCV in Egypt. This number would mean that about one in 10 people in the country is a carrier of the virus.
However, the government seems to think differently.
Wahid Doss, a specialist with the Ministry of Health and director of the Egyptian National Committee on Viral Hepatitis, stated that these numbers are an exaggeration. Doss told Daily News Egypt that this is due to the study’s results “being based upon a mathematical model and other studies which are not definite in their results.”
In 2009, 9.8 percent of the Egyptian population was said to be infected with HCV. Doss estimated that there are about 100,000 new patients exposed to the virus every year.
In the past few years, the government has been making efforts to control and decrease the number of infections, such as making almost all blood banks in the country governmental.
Infection control units are also being built in hospitals and guidelines that are now being applied by all doctors under the supervision of the Ministry of Health in public hospitals. These guidelines will soon be applied to private hospitals as well as University hospitals.
Doss also points out the current campaign that educates the public on the causes of infection, such as circumcision, tattooing and shaving using others’ tools.
When asked about future planned governmental studies, he said that it is the responsibility of the National Egyptian Research Center, which is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Education in controlling the disease.
The Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF) is also currently working under the main theme of controlling the dangerous virus.
“Currently, there are 21 liver centers all over Egypt serving patients, but we’re hoping this number will decrease with our efforts,” stated Doss.