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Notice to Readers: National Hepatitis Awareness Month and World Hepatitis Day --- May 19, 2009

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States, and May 19 is World Hepatitis Day. Both events draw attention to the large but often underrecognized burden of disease and death associated with viral hepatitis and the importance of prevention and early detection. An estimated 4.5 million persons in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, which together represent the major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. In 2006, chronic viral hepatitis contributed to at least 15,000 deaths in the United States. Globally, hepatitis B and C also are health threats, killing approximately 1.5 million persons per year.

A comprehensive public heath approach comprising interventions to protect vulnerable populations from infection (e.g., vaccination and adoption of safe injection procedures) and timely screening and care for chronic HBV and HCV infection can reduce the health burden of viral hepatitis. Additional information about viral hepatitis is available at Information about World Hepatitis Day activities is available at

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Date last reviewed: 5/14/2009


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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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