MAY: Hepatitis Awareness Month
|May 01 - May 31, 2020|
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person by the fecal-oral route or through consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice, that usually resolve within 2 months of infection; most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Antibodies produced in response to HAV infection last for life and protect against re-infection. The best way to prevent HAV infection is to get vaccinated.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is a short-term illness, but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for more than 50% of people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. Many people might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
Hepatitis C Testing Recommendations
CDC now recommends one-time hepatitis C testing of all adults (18 years and older) and all pregnant women during every pregnancy. CDC continues to recommend people with risk factors, including people who inject drugs, be tested regularly.