A Bradford doctor last night renewed his warning about the district’s “silent disease” after a report said the number of people suffering from liver disease was rising in England while decreasing in other European countries.
The UK’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said that obesity, undiagnosed hepatitis infections and harmful alcohol use are among the causes for the rising tide of disease.
She said the public needed to have a better awareness about liver health as the three major causes of liver disease are all preventable.
Dame Sally’s comments echo those of Dr Sulleman Moreea, a consultant gastroenterologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who warned earlier this year that Bradford faces an “explosion” of people suffering from liver disease in the next ten years.
Between 2000 and 2009, deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the under 65s increased by about a fifth while they fell by the same amount in most EU countries, according the report published yesterday by the chief medical officer.
Dr Moreea said while people were aware of the dangers of alcohol, more people needed to be aware of other causes of liver disease.
“There is a silent disease out there – hepatitis B and C,” he said. “When I started work in Bradford in 2004 I had 100 patients with hepatitis B and 150 patients with hepatitis C on our books. Today there are 650 patients with hepatitis B and 850 patients with hepatitis C. We keep treating large numbers of patients every year.”
Dame Sally added: “This is the only major cause of preventable death that is on the increase in England that is generally falling in other comparable European nations. We must act to change this.”
There are six adult patients in the Bradford district waiting for a new liver, up from three in July, 2010.