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Fri May 16, 2014

May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day and the DuPage County Health Department is taking this opportunity to educate residents about viral hepatitis.

An estimated 4.4 million Americans are currently infected with viral hepatitis and most are unaware of their infection. Hepatitis, which means inflammation of the liver, can have serious health effects if not treated. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.

Four things you should know about hepatitis:

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are all different diseases.  Each type of hepatitis is caused by a different virus and spread in different ways.  Hepatitis A does not cause a long-term infection, although it can make people very sick.  Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections and lead to serious health problems.

Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer.
Chronic hepatitis can cause serious damage to the liver, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

Most people with chronic hepatitis do not know they are infected.
More than 4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis in the United States, but most do not know they are infected.  Many people live with chronic hepatitis for decades without symptoms or feeling sick.

Getting tested could save your life.
Lifesaving care and treatments are available for chronic hepatitis, but getting tested is the only way to know if you are infected.  Take CDC's Hepatitis Risk Assessment to see if you should be tested for viral hepatitis.

The DuPage County Health Department offers Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines through the STD clinic. Call 630-682-7400 for an appointment. To find a Hepatitis testing site, visit . To take the CDC's Hepatitis Risk Assessment, visit .

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