The BMJ Today: England’s ongoing battle with liver disease

Today, The BMJ reports the stark warnings from public health experts about the rate of mortality from liver disease in England, and the regional variation across the country.

As Jacqui Wise reports, new profiles from Public Health England show that male mortality rates from liver disease are four times higher in some local authority areas than in others. The profiles also show large variation in hospital admissions for liver disease in different parts of the country.

Julia Verne, the lead for liver disease at Public Health England, said many young lives were being “needlessly lost” to liver disease, and said the disease was a “public health priority.” In contrast to most countries of the European Union, the report highlights that mortality rates from liver disease are increasing in England.

Alcohol—which is responsible for 37% of deaths from liver disease in England—is identified as the leading cause of this unwanted trend.  The report highlights that liver disease is one of the leading causes of premature mortality in England, with one in every 10 people who die in their 40s succumbing to liver disease.

In the United States, President Barack Obama has urged the nation not to “give in to hysteria” about Ebola, as he used his weekly address to the nation to try and ease fears about the spread of the virus.

As US correspondent Michael McCarthy reports, Obama told Americans that the diagnosis of three cases of Ebola virus disease in the US did not mean that the country faced an outbreak or epidemic of the disease. “This is a serious disease . . . but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear, because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science,” said the president.

Gareth Iacobucci is news reporter for The BMJ.