Midland Daily News (05.17.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
In observation of Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) joined CDC in urging people to protect themselves against the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis. People can receive immunization to protect against hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). MDCH recommends that people at risk for hepatitis visit their doctors. Early detection and treatment can prevent the disease from damaging the liver, which may result in cirrhosis or liver cancer. Viral hepatitis causes 15,000 US deaths each year.
More than 4 million US residents may have chronic hepatitis, yet not know it because hepatitis may never show symptoms. In 2012, CDC recommended that Americans born between the years 1945 and 1965 have a one-time blood test for hepatitis C virus (HCV); incidence of HCV is five times higher among baby boomers. To increase HCV awareness and to reduce the consequences of chronic HCV, CDC launched the Know More Hepatitis initiative, which encourages people to get tested. CDC also developed an online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool that allows people to enter information online privately and receive CDC’s recommendation for testing or vaccination.
HAV transmission takes place via consuming infected food or water or close contact with an HAV-infected person. HBV spreads through contact with blood or body fluids, unprotected sex, or mother-to-child transmission at birth. HCV spreads through contact with blood or sharing syringes. People who are unaware they have the virus may spread the virus to others.
Individuals may access the Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/riskassessment/.
Learn more about CDC’s Know More Hepatitis initiative at http://www.cdc.gov/KnowMoreHepatitis/.