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Hep Express Issue 7

(1 of 8)
August 15, 2003
CDC SPOTLIGHTS NEW MEXICO'S VIRAL HEPATITIS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

The Hepatitis Program of the New Mexico Department of Health, in conjunction with Cooney Watson & Associates, Inc., has developed a social marketing campaign to increase the awareness of viral hepatitis among injection drug users. The campaign likens hepatitis C to an oncoming train. People engaging in high-risk activity are encouraged to get tested for hepatitis C, receive appropriate hepatitis vaccinations, and take action to prevent disease transmission and reduce the consequences of hepatitis infection.

New Mexico has the highest rate of deaths due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States. In 2000, the age-adjusted mortality rate was 25 percent higher than that of the next highest state. In 2002, Rio Arriba County had the highest rates of death due to drug overdose in the United States. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has estimated that there are at least 32,000 people who have been infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in New Mexico.

The campaign materials developed, including both visual and print media, are currently available on CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis's website. The television advertisement can be watched in QuickTime format or read as simple text. The  campaign also includes a radio announcement, a colorful poster, and a brochure. All are available in English and Spanish.

To read more about this project, or to view the campaign materials, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/spotlights/new_mexico.htm

For information about adapting these materials for use in other locations, contact Reena Szczepanski, Hepatitis Program Manager, New Mexico Department of Health, by email at reenaa@doh.state.nm.us or by phone at (505) 827-2507.
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(2 of 8)
August 15, 2003
SPRING 2003 ISSUE OF "B INFORMED" FEATURES MANY USEFUL ARTICLES

The Spring 2003 issue of "B Informed," the newsletter of the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF), includes many articles of  interest. HBF President Timothy Block writes, "In this issue of 'B Informed,' there are personal stories about liver cancer, thoughtful insights from some of the leading authorities, and a clear message of hope."

Samuel So, MD, FACS, Director of the Liver Cancer Program and the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, contributed an article titled "Hepatitis B and Primary Liver Cancer." Mark Kane, MD, MPH, Director, Children's Vaccine  Program at PATH, wrote "HBV Vaccine Crucial to Global Cancer Control." Other articles explore both the medical and  personal aspects of hepatitis B infection.

The current issue of "B Informed", as well as archived issues, can be read or downloaded at no charge from the HBF  website at http://www.hepb.org/02-0107.hepb To receive "B Informed" through the U.S. mail, please send your name and full address to info@hepb.org and HBF will add your name to their confidential mailing list.

The HBF website offers many other resources, including the continually updated "HBF Drug Watch." To access the home page of this informative site, go to: http://www.hepb.org
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(3 of 8)
August 15, 2003
HFI'S 2003 HEPATITIS SUMMIT TO TAKE PLACE NOVEMBER 10-11

The Hepatitis Foundation International's (HFI) 2003 Hepatitis Summit will take place November 10-11 in Mystic, Connecticut. Titled "Viral Hepatitis: An Emerged Epidemic," the conference is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, counselors, outreach workers, patient advocates, and all others working with people who are affected or infected by hepatitis A, B, and C.

The program will include breakout sessions on various aspects of viral hepatitis prevention and treatment, including harm reduction strategies, resources and referrals, the health insurance maze, strategic planning for progress, and support groups.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Rhode Island Department of Public Health. For more information about the agenda and/or registration, go to: http://www.hepatitisfoundation.org or call (800) 891-0707.
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(4 of 8)
August 15, 2003
CDC ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS FOR HEPATITIS INTEGRATION PROJECTS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the availability of fiscal year (FY) 2004 funds for a cooperative agreement program for Viral Hepatitis Integration and Intervention Projects. Approximately $2,900,000 is available in FY 2004 to fund approximately seven awards. The purpose of this program is to improve the delivery of recommended viral hepatitis prevention services in existing public health or primary care settings that serve high-risk adults and/or adolescents.

The details of Program Announcement 04009 can be read at http://www.cdc.gov/od/pgo/funding/04009.htm The application deadline is October 7, 2003.
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(5 of 8)
August 15, 2003
IAC CONTINUALLY UPDATES ITS WEB PAGE ON THE HEPATITIS B VACCINE BIRTH DOSE

[The following is cross posted from the Immunization Action Coalition's "IAC EXPRESS" electronic newsletter, 7/28/03.]

In the past several months, the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has added lots of new resources to its birth dose web page, titled "Give hepatitis B vaccine at birth to all babies." This web page now features more than 50 resources divided into three sections: General Information, Recommendations, and Journal Articles. If you haven't looked at the birth dose web page recently, you might want to check out some of the newest resources, listed below.

In the General Information section, IAC is the source of the four documents that have been posted since the beginning of 2003. The four documents are

  1. "It's time to reaffirm the importance of the birth dose recommendation!" Written by IAC executive director Deborah L. Wexler, MD, this is an open letter to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and three major health  professional organizations.
     
    To access the camera-ready (PDF) version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/birthdose/importance.pdf
     
    To access the HTML version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/birthdose/importance.htm
     
  2. "States report hundreds of medical errors in perinatal hepatitis B prevention." Written by IAC's epidemiologist, Teresa A. Anderson, DDS, MPH, and executive director, Deborah L. Wexler, MD, this is a summary of the findings  of case reports collected from state hepatitis coordinators across the nation.
     
    To access the camera-ready (PDF) version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2062.pdf
     
    To access the HTML version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2062.htm
     
  3. "Unprotected babies: Two more infants chronically infected with hepatitis B virus . . . the medical errors continue."
     
    To access the camera-ready (PDF) version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2127.pdf
     
    To access the HTML version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2127.htm
     
  4. "Hospitals and doctors sued for failing to protect newborns from hepatitis B transmission."
     
    To access the camera-ready (PDF) version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2061.pdf
     
    To access the HTML version, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2061.htm

In the Recommendations section, all six resources are from 2003. The two most current ones follow:

  1. "Immunization of preterm and low birth weight infants," published in "Pediatrics," July 2003; written by Thomas N. Saari, MD, and the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Diseases.
     
    To access a camera-ready (PDF) version of the complete article from the "Pediatrics" website, go to:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/112/1/193.pdf
     
  2. "VFC support for a universal hepatitis B birth dose policy," published by the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention, June 2, 2003.
     
    To access a copy from the IAC website, go to:
    http://www.immunize.org/cdc/hepbmemo.pdf

In the Journal Articles section, six articles have been added in 2003. The three most current follow:

  1. "Impact of thimerosal controversy on hepatitis B vaccine coverage of infants born to women of unknown hepatitis B surface antigen status in Michigan," published in "Pediatrics," June 2003.
      
    To access the abstract from the "Pediatrics" website, go to:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/111/6/e645
     
  2. "Hepatitis B surface antigen prevalence among pregnant women in urban areas: Implication for testing, reporting, and preventing perinatal transmission," published in "Pediatrics," May 2003.
     
    To access the abstract from the PubMed website, go to:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/
    query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12728137&dopt=Abstract
     

  3. "Vaccination and perinatal infection prevention practices among obstetricians-gynecologists," published in "Obstetrics and Gynecology," April 2003.
     
    To access the abstract from the PubMed website, go to:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/
    query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12681874&dopt=Abstract

You can stay up to date on hepatitis B birth dose information by visiting the IAC birth dose web page often at http://www.immunize.org/birthdose
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(6 of 8)
August 15, 2003
NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE SET FOR OCTOBER 4-8 IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

The National Conference on Correctional Health Care will be held October 4-8, at the Austin Convention Center. This conference is sponsored by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and the Academy of Correctional Health Professionals (ACHP).

To read more about the conference or to register online, go to: http://www.ncchc.org/education/national2003/austin.html The early bird registration fee of $225 for ACHP members and $300 for nonmembers ends August 23; the regular fee is $275 for ACHP members and $350 for nonmembers. For questions, call NCCHC at (773) 880-1460.
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(7 of 8)
August 15, 2003
STUDY FINDS HIGH PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS C IN SAMPLE OF HOMELESS VETERANS

The July 2003 issue of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology featured an article titled "Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in a Sample of Homeless Veterans." The study measured the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a sample of 418 homeless veterans treated in a Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans program in Massachusetts over a five-year period.

The overall prevalence rate of HCV infection was 44.02%, a rate more than ten times higher than the national rate for men age 20-59 and more than twice as high as other Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patient samples. Adjusting for age, significant risk factors in this sample included a history of substance abuse and service during the Vietnam era. The authors concluded, "Public systems of care, including the VA, should expect increasing costs of care related to HCV infection as prevalent cases develop serious medical sequelae of HCV infection."

To read the abstract on PubMed, go to:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/
query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12861447&dopt=Abstract
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(8 of 8)
August 15, 2003
"SIGNPOST" REPORTS ON HEPATITIS C TREATMENT CUTS IN PENNSYLVANIA PRISONS

The July 30, 2003, issue of "SIGNpost," the electronic newsletter of the Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN), includes an article titled "Prisons to Reduce Hepatitis Treatment." Due to budget cuts, the state of Pennsylvania is reducing the number of inmates being treated for hepatitis C by 75 percent.

The state currently has 8,030 inmates infected with the virus (about 23 percent of the prison population) and is treating 550 of them with a 48-week treatment course costing $16,000 per patient. Beginning in September, state prisons will apply stricter eligibility rules and focus on prisoners with a more curable form of hepatitis C, about 15 percent of those infected.

Despite the decrease in number of inmates being eligible for treatment, officials say targeting patients may actually be beneficial, focusing efforts on more treatable cases. Also important to note is that despite cutbacks, Pennsylvania's prison system still provides more treatment for hepatitis C than many other states.

"SIGNpost" is a free weekly electronic forum about safe and appropriate use of injections. To subscribe, go to:
http://www.who.int/injection_safety/newsletter/SIGNPost/en

To visit the SIGN Alliance website, go to:
http://www.who.int/injection_safety/sign/en


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