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Local News

World Hepatitis Day theme: Find the Missing Millions.

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. This year’s theme, Find the Missing Millions, aims to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, as nine out of 10 people who have hepatitis are unaware they have it, according to a Barry Eaton District Health Deparfrtment news release. The disease affects more that 400 million people worldwide. Each year, 1.4 million people die from the infection, making it the 7th biggest killer in the world.

 

Globally, 90 percent  of those living with hepatitis B and 80 percent  living with hepatitis C are unaware they have  the disease which can result in developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives. In some cases, those with hepatitis unknowingly transmit the infection to others.

 

There are five types of viral Hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E. Types B and C are most common, and are spread through bodily fluids like blood. Factors that increase you risk for getting hepatitis B and C include: sharing needles, sharing toothbrushes, coming into contact with someone else’s blood, and having unprotected sex.

 

The BEDHD has walk-in clinic hours for hepatitis A vaccinations at its Charlotte office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hepatitis A vaccinations are available by appointment at the Hastings office.

 

The release said Hepatitis A is not as common, but 11 states are currently in an outbreak; hepatitis A is spread through the feces of an infected person, and can be spread easily from person to person.  Hepatitis D and E are least common, and most often found in countries with poor sanitary conditions.

 

There are highly-effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C but only 10 percent of people globally have access to them. The World Hepatitis Alliance aims to increase access to and awareness of vaccines and treatments to prevent and stop all infections by 2030. //

A national campaign is urging Baby Boomers to get tested for hepatitis C, which they are more likely to have than other age group because universal precautions and infection control procedures were not adopted until the 1980s. People born between 1945 and 1965 should ask their doctors about getting tested for hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is largely prevented in the United States as the hepatitis B vaccine series are routine in children.

 

Locally, Michigan is in the midst of a hepatitis A outbreak. Over 850 people have been infected with hepatitis A since the outbreak began in August, 2016. Hepatitis A is spread easily from person to person, however, it can be prevented by vaccine and washing your hands often.   

 

 

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