Liver Week – Viral Hepatitis
Did you know that incidence of hepatitis A and hepatitis C in the United States has increased significantly from 2014 to 2018?
The CDC’s most recently released Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report revealed stark increases in case counts reported in 2018 over those in 2014:
· Hepatitis A incidence rates increased nearly 850% from 2014 to 2018
· Acute hepatitis C incidence rates increased over 71% from 2014 to 2018
Outbreaks of both hepatitis A and hepatitis C have drastically increased in recent years. Hepatitis A outbreaks in recent years have been tied to foodborne transmission and person-to-person transmission through close contact with someone who is infected. Person-to-person transmission has been seen, most recently, among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men. While hepatitis C was traditionally a disease seen primarily among Baby Boomers, the highest reported incidence in the United States is now among people aged 20-29 years old. Recently, there is an emerging hepatitis C epidemic among young people who inject drugs, mainly in rural and suburban settings as a result of opioid misuse.
Some types of viral hepatitis are preventable with a vaccine while others are curable. Yet, viral hepatitis continues to claim and negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans. The American Liver Foundation remains active in the public health response to the rising rates of viral hepatitis: coordinating with local departments of health in elimination efforts, offering community education programs in high risk community settings, organizing patient and provider education, and ensuring equal access to medication.
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