Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer

Persons using assistive technology might not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please send e-mail to: Type 508 Accommodation and the title of the report in the subject line of e-mail.

Notice to Readers: National Hepatitis Awareness Month --- May 2001

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States. Hepatitis A, a disease transmitted through the fecal-oral route, occurs in epidemics both nationwide and in communities. Children are often the reservoir for infection, and during epidemic years, the number of reported cases has reached 35,000. Hepatitis A vaccine is the best protection against hepatitis A virus infection. During the late 1990s, when hepatitis A vaccine became more widely used, the number of cases reached historic lows.

Hepatitis B and C are both bloodborne diseases transmitted when blood or body fluids from an infected person enter the body of a susceptible person. Both hepatitis B and C can cause chronic infection that can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The number of new hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections per year has declined from approximately 450,000 during the 1980s to approximately 80,000 in 1998. Hepatitis B vaccine is the best protection against infection with HBV. The greatest decline in HBV infections has occurred among children and adolescents as the result of routine hepatitis B vaccination. The number of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections per year declined from approximately 240,000 during the 1980s to approximately 40,000 in 1998. No vaccine exists to prevent HCV infection. The infection is transmitted most often by injection drug use. Transfusion-associated cases occurred before blood donor screening, but currently HCV infection occurs in less than one per million transfused units of blood. Additional information about hepatitis A, B, and C is available from the CDC hepatitis hotline, telephone (888) 443-7232 or from CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis at

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the electronic PDF version and/or the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to

Page converted: 5/17/2001


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A


Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 5/17/2001