Michigan Recognizes May As Hepatitis Awareness Month
As May is observed as Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is encouraging families to protect themselves from hepatitis virus disease. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Coalition recognize the importance of addressing viral hepatitis.
This month is aimed at raising awareness of hepatitis. There are three main types of hepatitis caused by viruses that attack the liver.
Hepatitis A disease is spread by persons who have the virus or by eating food or drinking water with the hepatitis A virus in it. Hepatitis B disease is spread through unprotected sex, blood-to-blood contact with someone who has the virus, or at birth. Hepatitis C disease is spread by coming into contact with blood or by sharing dirty needles with someone who has the virus. People may already have hepatitis C virus if they received blood, blood products or organs before 1992 or clotting factor before 1987.
Some people infected with viral hepatitis may never show any symptoms of having the disease and without a blood test to confirm they are infected may be spreading the disease unknowingly to others. Some people with viral hepatitis may become extremely ill and those with hepatitis B or C may also develop long-term infection that can cause liver damage, cancer, or even death.
Each year, hundreds of people in Michigan become ill from viral hepatitis. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by getting immunizations. All three types of viral hepatitis can be addressed through other prevention methods. Prevention, vaccination and testing are the best ways to protect your family against hepatitis disease.
Hepatitis vaccines are safe and effective. These vaccines are thoroughly tested before being approved for public use and monitored carefully by doctors, researchers, and public health officials. Make sure your family is protected from viral hepatitis disease.