World Hepatitis Day is recognized this year on July 28, according to the Ocean County Health Department. Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis. Ocean County Freeholder Director and Board of Health Liaison Gerry P. Little stresses the importance of testing for residents concerned about this pervasive disease. “Testing, which starts with a doctor’s exam and often a simple blood test, has the potential to save many lives.” “Accordingly, the Ocean County Health Department offers free hepatitis C testing and also provides clinic services for hepatitis B to insure our Ocean County residents have the resources to confront this disease,” added Freeholder Director Little. “Chronic hepatitis B or C can often lead to more serious health problems and because the virus affects the liver, people with chronic hepatitis B or C are at risk for chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer, outcomes we strive to avoid,” concluded Freeholder Director Little.
According to Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator Daniel E. Regenye,
“Treatment options vary depending on which type of hepatitis you have. You can prevent some forms of hepatitis through immunizations and lifestyle precautions. Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B. It is estimated by the CDC that 1.2 million people in the United States and 350 million people worldwide live with this chronic disease. Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact. HCV is among the most common blood borne viral infections in the United States. Approximately 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans are currently living with a chronic form of this infection, pursuant to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”