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Hepatitis Awareness Month and Testing Day, May 2018


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The United States commemorates National Hepatitis Awareness Month each May, and May 19 is designated as Hepatitis Testing Day. Viral hepatitis still persists as a major public health threat despite availability of preventive measures such as vaccines and therapies, including a curative treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

New cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV infections are on the rise, largely among persons who inject drugs, with some attributed to the current U.S. opioid epidemic (1). Recent hepatitis A outbreaks have also occurred among unvaccinated injection drug users and homeless persons (2). Since August 2016, CDC has responded to hepatitis A outbreaks with high HBV/HCV co-infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates in multiple states (https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2017March-HepatitisA.htm). New cases of perinatal HBV infection also continue (1); recently, CDC updated recommendations to strengthen vaccination among newborns and manage pregnant women (3).

This issue of MMWR includes an article about the promising outcomes of three HBV programs that implemented community-based services to improve HBV testing, linkage to care, and treatment among persons born in intermediate-high prevalence countries (4).


References

  1. CDC. Viral hepatitis surveillance—United States, 2016. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/2016surveillance/pdfs/2016HepSurveillanceRpt.pdf.
  2. Williams WW, Lu PJ, O’Halloran A, et al. Surveillance of vaccination coverage among adult populations—United States, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ 2017;66(No. SS-11). CrossRef PubMed
  3. Schillie S, Vellozzi C, Reingold A, et al. Prevention of hepatitis B virus infection in the United States: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR Recomm Rep 2018;67(No. RR-1). CrossRef
  4. Harris AM, Link-Gelles R, Kim K, et al. Community-based services to improve testing and linkage to care among non–U.S.-born persons with chronic hepatitis B virus infection—three U.S. programs, October 2014– September 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:541–6.

Suggested citation for this article: Hepatitis Awareness Month and Testing Day, May 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:541. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6719a1.

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