hepatitis is a major global health threat. There are five major types
of viral hepatitis, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. All types of
viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, Hepatitis B
and C infection can result in a lifelong, chronic infection. Worldwide,
approximately one million people die each year from chronic viral
hepatitis. These deaths are primarily from cirrhosis or liver cancer
caused by Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The World Health Organization
(WHO) estimates that 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis
world wide. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are
living with chronic hepatitis and most do not know they are infected.
A can spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter—even
in microscopic amounts. This most often occurs in countries where
Hepatitis A is common], especially if personal hygiene or sanitary
conditions are poor. Contamination of food can happen at any point:
growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. The
best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis A is to get a safe,
CDC is collaborating with public health
officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections
linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey. While foodborne hepatitis A
outbreaks are not common in the United States, our global food chain
makes outbreaks possible. The current outbreak involves about 150 people
in the southwest United States who ate a particular brand of frozen
berry mix with pomegranate seeds. The product has been recalled, but the
investigation is ongoing. The recalled product has a long shelf life
and symptoms of hepatitis A infection can take as long as 6 weeks to
appear, so people could continue to get sick. It is important for
consumers to check their homes and freezers for the recalled product and
not eat it.
Hepatitis B is common in many
areas across the world, especially Asian and African countries. In the
United States, an estimated 1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific
Islanders (AAPIs) is living with hepatitis B, yet as many as 2 in 3 do
not know they are infected. If you or your parents were born in Asia or
the Pacific Islands, talk to your doctor about Hepatitis B testing.
There is a safe, effective vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B.
CDC recently launched, Know Hepatitis B
a national, multilingual communication campaign aiming to increase
testing for Hepatitis B among AAPIs. The campaign delivers culturally
relevant messages in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese through a
variety of multi-media channels. The Know Hepatitis B campaign was
created and launched in partnership with Hep B United
a coalition of Asian community groups from around the country. Hep B
United partners conduct community-level outreach and will incorporate
campaign materials into their education about Hepatitis B. Visit www.cdc.gov/knowhepatitisb
for more information on the campaign and its resources.
C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the
Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a
few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread
when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the
body of someone who is not infected.
Unlike Hepatitis A and
Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis C. The
best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread
the disease, such as sharing needles or other equipment to inject
cosmetic substances, drugs, or steroids.
Know More Hepatitis
is a national Hepatitis C education campaign designed to decrease the
burden of chronic Hepatitis C. The campaign is aimed at increasing
awareness about this hidden epidemic and encouraging people who may be
chronically infected to get tested.
Viral Hepatitis Testing and Vaccination Recommendations
Find out if you are at risk for viral hepatitis and whether or not you should get tested or vaccinated by taking CDC's 5 minute online Hepatitis Risk Assessment