Hepatitis Awareness Month

Immunization appears to have had a dramatic impact on controlling some forms of Hepatitis in the United States over the past two decades.  In 1990, there were 31,441 new cases of Hepatitis A and 21,102 new cases of Hepatitis B reported in the U.S.   Two decades later, the number of new cases has dropped dramatically:  1,562 new cases of Hepatitis A were reported in 2012 along with 2,895 new cases of Hepatitis B.

In 2010, NCHS released data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which showed that among younger Americans between ages 6 and 29, exposure to the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) had increased steadily between 1988-94 and 2003-06, while a decline occurred among adults age 40 and over during the same period.

Prevalence of Heptatitis B (HBV) infection, meanwhile, declined steadily over the same period of time for people of all age groups (It is important to note that there is a distinction between exposure to HAV or HBV in a nationally representative sample survey like NHANES and the actual number of diagnosed cases reported to CDC).

Deaths from viral hepatitis, meanwhile, have been inching up.   In 2013, 8,157 Americans died from all forms of viral hepatitis, up significantly from 4,853 deaths in 1999.

For more information on Hepatitis vaccination, visit the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/default.htm.

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