Hepatitis, a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver, affects millions of Americans. There are three common forms:
Hepatitis infections, especially hepatitis C, have increased, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report looked at trends of hepatitis in the U.S. from 2001 to 2016 and reported cases of hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections in 2016.
"It is unfortunate that the number of infections with hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are increasing in the U.S.," says Dr. Stacey Rizza, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. "Fortunately, there are effective vaccines available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B infections, and anyone at risk should be vaccinated."
Dr. Rizza says there still is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but people who are at risk of infection, or baby boomers born from 1945 to 1965, should be screened for hepatitis C. "If people are infected, they should seek care from their physician," says Dr. Rizza. "There are now excellent treatment options for hepatitis C infection."