May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month, as recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This year, the CDC is encouraging individuals and families to learn more about the immunizations and treatment options for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, as well as the risks associated with contracting Hepatitis C from sharing needles to inject drugs.
Understanding the Risks of Hepatitis, A, B and C
Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver. There are five different variants of hepatitis (A, B, C, D and E), each with its own unique risk factors, symptoms and potential complications. For National Hepatitis Awareness Month 2019, the CDC is focusing on Hepatitis A, B and C, and it explains the differences between each of these diseases as follows:
“Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection. . . . People who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks to several months but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. . . . Hepatitis A is very contagious and people can even spread the virus before they get symptoms. However, hepatitis A is easily prevented with a safe and effective vaccine, which is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at risk, including travelers to certain international countries.”
“Hepatitis B is a liver infection [that] can cause serious liver damage, and even liver cancer. . . . Hepatitis B is preventable with a vaccine. . . . Unfortunately, many people were infected before the hepatitis B vaccine was widely available. That’s why CDC recommends anyone born in areas where hepatitis B is common, or whose parents were born in these regions, get tested for hepatitis B.”
“Most people who get infected [with hepatitis C] will develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver disease, liver failure, and even liver cancer. . . . Today, most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to inject drugs. In fact, rates of new infections have been on the rise, due in part to the increase in injection drug use. . . . There is currently no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Fortunately, new treatments offer a cure for most people.”
Vaccination Against Hepatitis A and B
Today, vaccines are widely available for hepatitis A and B, and the CDC recommends vaccination against both diseases during infancy. Children, teens and adults who have not previously been vaccinated (or who are unsure whether they have been vaccinated) can get the hepatitis A and B vaccines as well. Of course, you should always consult your doctor prior to receiving an immunization, and it is important to be aware of the risks associated with hepatitis A and B vaccinations as well.
More information and resources related to National Hepatitis Awareness Month can be found here:
- May is Hepatitis Awareness Month (IAC)
- Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day Resources (CDC)
- Viral Hepatitis Resources (CDC)
Nationwide Legal Representation for Individuals Diagnosed with Vaccine Injuries
For individuals diagnosed with injuries and illnesses resulting from hepatitis A and B vaccinations, financial compensation is available through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). To learn more from national vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant, please call 202-800-1711 or request a free consultation online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.