World Hepatitis Day — July 28th
Viral 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 worldwide. In the United States alone, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis and most do not know they are infected.
Hepatitis 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, effective vaccine.
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. 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.
Hepatitis 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 with Hepatitis C 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.
- Page last reviewed: July 22, 2013
- Page last updated: September 26, 2013
- Content source:
- Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs