Help stop the spread of hepatitis during Hepatitis Awareness Month

Mon May 16, 2016

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and the DuPage County Health Department is joining healthcare partners across the United States to raise awareness about what can be done to prevent the spread of hepatitis. Many forms of hepatitis are preventable and can be treated if detected early.
 
What is Hepatitis?
The word 'hepatitis' means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the US, the most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications and certain medical conditions can also cause hepatitis. 
 
What is Viral Hepatitis?
Viral hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. As many as 4.4 million Americans have chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection. About 50 percent of those with hepatitis C are unaware that they are even infected. The following information and recommendations are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
 
Hepatitis B

  • An estimated 1.2 million people are living with chronic Hepatitis B in the United States.
  • 1 in 12 Asian Americans has Hepatitis B. Approximately 2 in 3 people with Hepatitis B do not know they are infected.
  • Asian and Pacific Islanders make up less than 5 percent of the U.S. population but account for over 50 percent of Americans living with chronic Hepatitis B.
  • People with Hepatitis B often have no symptoms.
  • Up to 25 percent of people with Hepatitis B develop serious liver problems.
  • Hepatitis B -related liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths among Asian Americans.
  • The CDC recommends all people born in Asia, Africa, and other regions with moderate or high rates of hepatitis B get tested for Hepatitis B. 

 

Hepatitis C

  • People born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C than other adults.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 people with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 through 1965.
  • Most people living with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected.
  • Many people can live with Hepatitis C for decades without having symptoms or feeling sick.
  • Left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage and liver failure.
  • Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.
  • CDC recommends Hepatitis C testing for certain groups, including people born from 1945-1965.


For additional information on viral hepatitis prevention, visit:  www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm  

Click here to print a copy of this press release.

 

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