SOURCE: National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

September 09, 2009 06:00 ET

Physician Congressman Speaks Up on Viral Hepatitis

ROHNERT PARK, CA--(Marketwire - September 9, 2009) - The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) is hosting a briefing, "The Experts' Perspective: Gaps and Strategies in the Hepatitis Crisis." "Leading hepatitis physicians, one of whom is a Congressman, will be on the hill today to educate Congress on the importance of developing a strategy to reduce the significant morbidity and mortality from end-stage liver disease and liver cancer caused by chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C in the United States," said Martha Saly, Director of NVHR. "While the viral hepatitis crisis looms ever larger as a major public health threat, hepatitis B and hepatitis C receive little federal attention and even less federal funding." The Honorable William Cassidy, (R-LA), will speak from his unique perspective as a Congressman and a physician who has treated patients with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. As an associate professor of medicine with Louisiana State University, he provided care for uninsured patients and taught doctors in training at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge.

About Chronic Viral Hepatitis

Chronic viral hepatitis, particularly in the form of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, is a highly contagious virus that infects the liver, causing liver disease, liver cancer, and premature death. Chronic hepatitis B is treatable when detected early and properly managed. In about 50% of the cases, chronic hepatitis C can be cured.

It is estimated that 2,000,000,000 people worldwide have been infected with the hepatitis B virus, 400 million chronically. Approximately 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus. An estimated 4.5 million people living in the United States are infected with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C; tragically more than half are unaware of their status.

About the Briefing

NVHR is hosting a congressional briefing, "The Experts' Perspective: Gaps and Strategies in the Hepatitis Crisis": 3:30 p.m., September 9, 2009, in room 122, Cannon House Office building. The 90 minute briefing will feature physicians who specialize in hepatitis care and research. In addition to Congressman Cassidy, the list of speakers includes, Anna Lok, MD, Director of Clinical Hepatology and Associate Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Internal Medicine, at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, and Eugene Schiff, MD, Director of the Schiff Liver Institute, Director of the Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and Leonard Miller, Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Michael Ninburg, Executive Director of the Hepatitis Education Project in Seattle, WA. will talk about the challenges from the patient perspective.

Special guests at the briefing include: The Honorable Charles Dent (R-PA), The Honorable Michael Honda (D-CA), The Honorable Edolphus Towns (D-NY), The Honorable Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), The Honorable David Wu (D-OR).

About NVHR

The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable is a coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of infection, morbidity, and mortality from viral hepatitis in the United States.

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