Department of Health Reminds Pennsylvanians of Prevention and Treatment Options Available for Hepatitis
May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month
Harrisburg, PA - In observance of National Hepatitis Awareness Month, Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today reminded residents of Pennsylvania that hepatitis A and B are vaccine-preventable diseases.
‚ÄúPrevention and education are the most important tools a person can have to stay healthy and free of hepatitis,‚ÄĚ said Murphy. ‚ÄúMaking sure you have all of your vaccines is crucial to long term health and wellness. Hepatitis can cause serious adverse health effects. It is our responsibility at the Department to make sure people understand their ability to protect themselves against these diseases.‚ÄĚ
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are viral diseases that affect the liver and have different symptoms and treatments. Other causes include recreational drugs and prescription medications.
Immunization is the most important method to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for all children over the age of one year, travelers to regions with high rates of the disease, men who have sexual contact with other men, and those who engage in risky behaviors such as intravenous drug use.
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease usually spread through contact with blood from an infected person through needle sharing to inject drugs.¬ Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.
Individuals infected with hepatitis should seek professional medical help. Proper treatment, including medication and health monitoring can often lead to a cure of the hepatitis infection.
For more information on the prevention, testing, and treatment of hepatitis viruses, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 877-PA-HEALTH.¬ You can also visit the department‚Äs website at http://www.health.state.pa.us/ and click on the immunization link.
MEDIA CONTACT:¬ ¬ Amy Worden, DOH, 717-787-1783¬ ¬ ¬