Published online Sep 27, 2018. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v10.i9.549
Peer-review started: April 11, 2018
First decision: May 2, 2018
Revised: May 14, 2018
Accepted: May 30, 2018
Article in press: May 31, 2018
Published online: September 27, 2018
Egypt has one of the highest prevalence rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the world, mostly with genotype 4 that is highly associated with severe fibrosis. As a consequence, hepatocellular carcinoma has become the leading cause of cancer in this country. Mauritania is a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV and HCV could both be iatrogenically transmitted through infected blood products, infected needles, and medical equipment improperly sterilized. Adequate and efficient healthcare and public health measures with good surveillance programs, access for screening, prevention strategies, and successful treatment are needed to halt the spread of these diseases. Herein, we have reviewed the epidemiology, modes of transmission, predisposing factors, and novel treatment modalities of these viruses. We have proposed practices and interventions to decrease the risk of transmission of HCV and HBV in the affected countries, including strict adherence to standard precautions in the healthcare setting, rigorous education and training of patients and healthcare providers, universal screening of blood donors, use of safety-engineered devices, proper sterilization of medical equipment, hepatitis B vaccination, as well as effective direct-acting antiviral agents for the treatment of HCV.
Core tip: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) are major public health concerns in Egypt and Mauritania. HCV and HBV can both be transmitted through medical and surgical procedures (healthcare-associated transmission) among others. Screening, prevention, and treatment strategies should be emphasized in Egypt and Mauritania to prevent the spread of these diseases. Direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of HCV are highly effective and well tolerated and should be made accessible and affordable to patients.