July 28th is recognized as World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about viral hepatitis which affects millions of people around the world. World Hepatitis Day takes place on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg who first discovered hepatitis and later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine.
There are five different types of hepatitis that can cause acute (short term) or chronic (long term) infection. Hepatitis types B, C, and D can cause long term chronic infection which can lead to liver damage and liver cancer. The most common types of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C.
Hepatitis B and C are common types of hepatitis and many people who have hepatitis B or C don’t know they are infected. Those with hepatitis B and C may have no symptoms, although liver damage can still occur. Getting tested for hepatitis can ensure appropriate treatment and care can be provided, which can prevent liver damage. For recommendations about who should be tested for hepatitis B visit cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/testingchronic and for hepatitis C visit cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/guidelinesc.
There are vaccines which can help prevent hepatitis A and B; however there is no vaccine available for other types of hepatitis. If you haven’t been vaccinated for hepatitis A or B or are unsure, contact your health care provider.
To find free or low cost testing, treatment, and vaccination locations for hepatitis, visit the NJ Department of Health's services locator.
To learn more about the various types of hepatitis, visit cdc.gov/hepatitis.