Maine CDC Health Advisory

May 7, 2019

Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month: Information for Clinicians

May is Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month. Maine CDC urges clinicians to understand the burden of hepatitis B and C in Maine and to follow key recommendations for testing and prevention. All persons at risk for hepatitis B and C should be tested and those who are susceptible should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Maine has seen a sharp increase in the rates of acute hepatitis B and C. From 2013 to 2018, acute hepatitis B rates increased 388% and acute hepatitis C rates increased 314%. Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation among adults in the U.S. More people die from hepatitis C than all other 60 reported infectious diseases combined. Hepatitis C is 10 times more infectious than HIV and hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.

Medical providers should assess their patients for risk factors and test those at risk for hepatitis B and C. Medical providers are urged to recommend vaccination for hepatitis B in persons who have not already been vaccinated and to vaccinate any patient diagnosed with hepatitis C for hepatitis A and B.

All cases of hepatitis are reportable in Maine. Providers with suspected cases should report them to Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

Advisory (PDF)