A Third of the World Infected with Hepatitis

David Bernstein, MD

Today is World Hepatitis Awareness Day. The World Health Organization, in a statement just released in Geneva, estimates that 2 billion people -- one-third of the world’s population -- have been infected with hepatitis. Injection drug use is prevalent throughout the world and is a common risk factor for hepatitis B, C and HIV.

A global study recently published in the Lancet estimates that approximately 10 million intravenous drug users are infected with hepatitis C and 1 million to 2 million are infected with hepatitis B. These numbers are significantly higher than the prevalence of HIV infection in this population. This study reinforces the global health problem that chronic hepatitis B and C present to healthcare and coincidentally has been published at a time when the WHO is meeting in Geneva to address the significant health problem hepatitis presents to the world.

Full Post - to Detail View

Understanding and Fighting Sepsis

Yosef Dlugacz, Ph.D.

Sepsis is an extremely severe illness, often life-threatening, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Patients with sepsis can suffer from shock, the failure of major organs, such as kidneys, liver or lungs and changes in mental status. In hospitalized patients, sepsis can result from infection from intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and skin breakdown (“bed sores”). During an episode of sepsis, bacteria overwhelm the bloodstream. People who are elderly, with weakened immune systems or who suffer from chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to sepsis.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) have established a collaborative initiative to address this widespread and dangerous condition. The goal is to combine the research and scientific strengths of North Shore-LIJ with the extensive data provided by IHI to result in an increased understanding of the causes and effective treatment of sepsis with the goal of controlling and eliminating it.

Although we understand many of the causes of sepsis and North Shore-LIJ has instituted protection for patients (improved hand hygiene protocols, antibiotic administration), it remains an intractable disease. The health system has been collecting data and studying the important variables associated with sepsis for many years, which has enabled us to develop measurements in order to monitor prevalence and improvements. This new IHI collaboration will enable both organizations to share insights and resources which should lead to an increased understanding of the issues involved in controlling this illness.

Full Post - to Detail View