Health Officials Look to Raise Awareness on World Hepatitis Day

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Today is World Hepatitis Day. It is estimated that 400 million people have viral hepatitis, according to the World Health Organization. Indiana Deputy State Health Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Walthall says most people who have hepatitis don’t know that they are infected.

State health officials say viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus.  In 2014 in Indiana, 20 cases of hepatitis A, 126 cases of hepatitis B, and over 66-hundred (6,628) cases of hepatitis C were reported to the Indiana State Department of Health. It is estimated that 4,000 people die each day from some form of viral hepatitis.

To view hepatitis C rates in your county, visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/26680.htm.

Today, you can help raise awareness about hepatitis on Facebook and Twitter by posting and using the hashtag #4000voices. This hashtag represents the individuals who die every day from hepatitis.

“Hepatitis can lead to liver disease and liver cancer,” said Dr. Walthall. “Knowing your status can help prevent serious problems and stop the spread of disease to others.”

Viral hepatitis is preventable, and you can lower your risk by practicing good hygiene, practicing safe sex and avoid sharing injection drug equipment such as needles. You can also get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.

Find out your risk for hepatitis by taking the hepatitis risk test at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/ and talk to your doctor about getting tested.

For more information about hepatitis and World Hepatitis Day, visit http://worldhepatitisday.org/.

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.