May is "Hepatitis Awareness Month" - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

May is "Hepatitis Awareness Month"

Posted: Updated:

The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge the public to learn the risk factors of viral hepatitis.

The month of May has been designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month, and May 19 is the first national observance of Hepatitis Testing Day.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver.  Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Here are some facts about hepatitis:

  • 3.5 to 5.3 million Americans are living with chronic (lifelong) viral hepatitis—hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Most of them do not know that they are infected, placing them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increasing the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others.
  • A specific blood test is the only way to know if you have viral hepatitis.
  • Hepatitis A virus spreads when a person ingests contaminated food or water, is exposed to contaminated objects, or has been in close contact with an infected person.
  • Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause chronic hepatitis, leading to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
  • Anyone can get hepatitis B or C, but some populations are disproportionately burdened with these infections, including African Americans; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; past and current injection drug users; persons born between 1945-1965; and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
  • Hepatitis B can be transmitted through exposure to blood or through sex. Hepatitis C is mainly transmitted through exposure to blood.
  • Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. There is no hepatitis C vaccine.
  • Treatments exist for both hepatitis B and C.

For more information about the different forms of hepatitis and the symptoms it can cause just go to the Alabama Department of Public Health's website.

  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Blount County DA cracking down on degrading social media accounts

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:06 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:06:14 GMT
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
    Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey is on a mission to shut down several Instagram accounts degrading young women throughout the county. The accounts with names such as "WHORESOFBLOUNTCOUNTY" and "SLUTSOFSUSANMORE" show pictures of teenagers with degrading comments underneath. Casey said the pictures are used without the girls' permission. One site has been taken down, and Casey has asked the social media website to remove them all.More >>
  • IndyCar drivers Power, Pagenaud enter Barber weekend with tension over Long Beach incident

    IndyCar drivers Power, Pagenaud enter Barber weekend with tension over Long Beach incident

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:00 PM EDT2014-04-25 01:00:42 GMT
    A week off did nothing to mellow the tension between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power stemming from contact between the two at Long Beach.More >>
    A week off did nothing to mellow the tension between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power stemming from contact between the two at Long Beach.
    More >>
  • Tuscaloosa documents city's post-tornado progress in three videos

    Tuscaloosa documents city's post-tornado progress in three videos

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:08:47 GMT
     Motto: Safer, Smarter & StrongerMore >>
     Motto: Safer, Smarter & StrongerMore >>
  • Authorities find body of Riverside man who went missing in Lake Logan Martin

    Authorities find body of Riverside man who went missing in Lake Logan Martin

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:57:29 GMT
    ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. -- Authorities have found the body of a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake last weekend."At approximately 2:40 pm today the body of Mr. Willie Cosby was recovered from Logan Martin Lake in Riverside by search personnel," St. Clair County Sheriff Billy Murray said in a released statement. "Mr. Cosby was located in the area where multiple agencies have been searching since Monday morning."Cosby, 48, was fishing with his wife when he fell from the boat at ...More >>
    ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. -- Authorities have found the body of a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake last weekend."At approximately 2:40 pm today the body of Mr. Willie Cosby was recovered from Logan Martin Lake in Riverside by search personnel," St. Clair County Sheriff Billy Murray said in a released statement. "Mr. Cosby was located in the area where multiple agencies have been searching since Monday morning."Cosby, 48, was fishing with his wife when he fell from the boat at ...More >>
  • Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Birmingham leaders criticize teen "wet" and "twerk" parties

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:40:34 GMT
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
    Recent parties asking teens to "freak," "twerk" and "get wet" are raising safety concerns among Birmingham City leaders.Some of the parties have been held at the Continental Ballroom and other venues for quite some time. Earlier this month, a shooting at the Continental Ballroom resulted in one teenager's injuries. City leaders, consequently, revoked the owner and party promoter's business licenses for that incident and prior complaints.But other upcoming teen parties are planned. They all ch...More >>
  • Shelby County mom expected in court next week

    Shelby County mom expected in court next week

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:39 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:39:08 GMT
    Prosecutors in Shelby County have asked a judge to require an Alabaster mother to undergo random drug and alcohol screenings.More >>
    Prosecutors in Shelby County have asked a judge to require an Alabaster mother to undergo random drug and alcohol screenings.More >>
  • Housing director: pipe replacement complete in Marks Village

    Housing director: pipe replacement complete in Marks Village

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:37:50 GMT
    All piping inside the Mark Village Housing Development in Gate City has been replaced, according to Naomi Truman, executive director of the Housing Authority--Birmingham District. Truman told ABC 33/40More >>
    Continuing coverageMore >>
  • Benefit concert to assist and celebrate rehab of injured Gadsden officer

    Benefit concert to assist and celebrate rehab of injured Gadsden officer

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:06:29 GMT
    An Etowah County drug investigator who suffered a severe brain injury last month began taking steps in rehab this week.A truck collided with Gary Pierce as he rode his motorcycle while off duty March 15. He spent four week in intensive care at UAB before a transfer to Spain Rehabilitation Center.Pierce walked more than 250 feet Wednesday with the assistance of a walker. His commander at the Etowah County Drug Task Force, Rob Savage, said Pierce shows signs of improvement every day."He's talki...More >>
    An Etowah County drug investigator who suffered a severe brain injury last month began taking steps in rehab this week.A truck collided with Gary Pierce as he rode his motorcycle while off duty March 15. He spent four week in intensive care at UAB before a transfer to Spain Rehabilitation Center.Pierce walked more than 250 feet Wednesday with the assistance of a walker. His commander at the Etowah County Drug Task Force, Rob Savage, said Pierce shows signs of improvement every day."He's talki...More >>