GENEVA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first global hepatitis C treatment guidelines on Wednesday.
WHO estimated around 130 million to 150 million people worldwide suffered from chronic hepatitis C, which claimed 350,000 to 500,000 deaths per year.
The WHO guidelines provided recommendations on screening for hepatitis C, medical care to slow the progress of the disease, as well as safe and effective treatments.
According to the guidelines, the existing treatments based on interferon injections and new oral medicines could cure most people with chronic hepatitis C.
"The new guidance aims to help countries to improve treatment and care for hepatitis and thereby reduce deaths from liver cancer and cirrhosis," Stefan Wiktor form WHO's global hepatitis program said in a statement.
Since alcohol can accelerate liver damage caused by hepatitis C, the guidelines advises that people with chronic hepatitis C infection receive an alcohol assessment and reduce alcohol intake.
Hepatitis C virus is most commonly transmitted through exposure to contaminated blood. Although many people may not be aware of the chronic hepatitis C for decades, the disease could progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer.