FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2022
CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day
MDHHS encourages hepatitis B and C testing during pregnancy and among infants born to people with hepatitis infection
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recognizing World Hepatitis Day on Thursday, July 28 to highlight the importance of hepatitis B and C testing during pregnancy, and among infants born to people infected with hepatitis B (HCB) or hepatitis C (HCV).
“World Hepatitis Day is an opportunity to encourage all eligible Michiganders to get tested for hepatitis B and C, as testing is critical and important for early detection and treatment,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Many infected individuals can live decades without experiencing any signs or symptoms. Left untreated, hepatitis B and C infections can cause severe liver damage.”
HBV is transmitted from person to person through the contaminated blood or body fluids of a person who has the virus, such as through unprotected sex and from an HBV-infected person to their infant at birth (perinatal HBV). The most effective way to prevent HBV infection is to get vaccinated. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends hepatitis B vaccination among all infants, unvaccinated children under 19 years of age, adults ages 19 through 59 years, and adults ages 60 years and older with risk factors for HBV.
HCV is a blood-borne pathogen that spreads through contact with blood from an individual who is infected. This includes through sharing needles or equipment used to inject or prepare drugs, occupational exposures, unregulated tattooing, sharing personal care items contaminated with infectious blood (e.g., razors or toothbrushes) and from an HCV-infected person to their infant at birth (perinatal HCV). There is no vaccine to prevent HCV, however, there are effective medications to cure an individual of their HCV infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hepatitis B testing during each pregnancy. HBV vaccine is also recommended among pregnant persons who are identified as being at-risk for HBV infection during pregnancy. The HBV vaccine contains no live virus and there is no apparent risk of adverse events to developing fetuses when the vaccine is administered during pregnancy. The CDC also recommends HCV testing among all adults ages 18 and older, and among pregnant people during every pregnancy, regardless of age.
People who are HBV or HCV positive during pregnancy should seek follow-up care in the postpartum period for evaluation and treatment management in addition to testing of their newborn