The World Health Organization is calling on everyone to “Know hepatitis – Act now” this World Hepatitis Day on July 28. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and is often caused by a virus. The three most common viruses that cause viral hepatitis in the U.S. are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C can become chronic, or lifelong, infections that can cause serious health problems such as liver damage, liver cancer, and even death. Yet, most people don’t know that they are infected.

About 400 million people around the world are affected by chronic viral hepatitis , including more than 5 million Americans. Hepatitis B and C are two of the most commonly reported infectious diseases in Arizona. The newly released 2016 Viral Hepatitis Epidemiologic Profile for Arizona shows that around 1,000 cases of hepatitis B are reported each year in the past decade and that there were more than 117,000 hepatitis C cases identified for 1998 through 2015. The profile can be found at and also includes information about hospitalizations, deaths, hepatitis C testing, and HIV co-infections.

The good news is that hepatitis A and B can be prevented by a vaccine. While there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, new treatments show promising results for curing the disease. The CDC recommends baby boomers (people born from 1945 through 1965) get tested for hepatitis C, and that those born in Asia or the Pacific Islands or whose parents were born there get tested for hepatitis B. Take the CDC hepatitis risk assessment or talk to your doctor to find out if you should get tested. Visit our website for hepatitis resources and services in Arizona.