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Hepatitis Awareness Month --- May 2010

May 2010 marks the 15th anniversary of Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States, and May 19 is World Hepatitis Day. Globally, viral hepatitis is the cause of most (78%) primary liver cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the world (1). Prevention of hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus transmission and treatment for early disease can prevent primary liver cancer (2). This issue of MMWR includes a report describing vaccination of at-risk adults with hepatitis B vaccine in California and a report on continued increases in hepatocellular carcinoma incidence in the United States.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently issued Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The IOM strategy has four components: 1) accurate public health surveillance, 2) innovative approaches to community education, 3) immunization capacity to eliminate hepatitis B virus transmission, and 4) development of viral hepatitis services, including screening with referral for medical management. Taken together, these strategies can reduce morbidity associated with viral hepatitis, including primary liver cancer.

Additional information about viral hepatitis is available at The IOM report is available at Information about World Hepatitis Day activities is available at


  1. Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, Pisani P. Global cancer statistics, 2002. CA Cancer J Clin 2005;55:74--108.
  2. Cardoso AC, Moucari R, Figueiredo-Mendes C, et al. Impact of peginterferon and ribavirin therapy on hepatocellular carcinoma: incidence and survival in hepatitis C patients with advanced fibrosis. J Hepatol 2010;52:652--7.

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