FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

National Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month observed in North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) recently urged citizens between 50-70 years old to be familiar with their hepatitis C status as part of May's National Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month.

People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times likelier to have hepatitis C than others. Symptoms often remain dormant for up to 30 years and can appear as a sign of advanced liver disease. Hepatitis C symptoms include vomiting, jaundice, fatigue, fever and abdominal pain.

"National Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness about viral hepatitis since as many as 75 percent of those infected with chronic hepatitis C do not know they are infected," Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator for the Department of Health Sarah Weninger said. "Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States and is the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States. As many as 70 percent to 80 percent of all people who have hepatitis C will develop long-term infections. However, once the infection is identified, treatment options are available."

Hepatitis C is not part of routine blood work testing. NDDoH encourages people to talk to their doctor about Hepatitis C.