A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

52 Weeks of Public Health: Campaign focused on World Hepatitis Day, highlighting the silent killer

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet of Health and Family Services (CHFS) highlighted World Hepatitis Day, which took place July 28.

This is in honor of the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925 – 2011) and his discovery of the virus in 1967, which led to his development of the first Hepatitis B vaccine in 1969. For these achievements, Dr. Blumberg was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Chronic Hepatitis infections can cause inflammation of the liver that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Viral Hepatitis is among the top 10 infectious disease killers. Both chronic Hepatitis B and chronic Hepatitis C virus infections cause approximately 80 percent of the world’s liver cancer. Viral Hepatitis is a major global health threat with approximately 350 million people worldwide living with chronic Hepatitis.

Estimates are that about 20,000 Kentuckians could be living with chronic Hepatitis B and about 60,000 Kentuckians could be living with chronic Hepatitis C virus infections.

“A coordinated, comprehensive approach for early detection with screening, linkage to care, and treatment can improve the prognosis, and decrease the mortality and morbidity of viral hepatitis throughout the Commonwealth,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Hiram J. Polk, Jr.

To heighten awareness and increase testing, DPH partnered with University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health, Orasure, for the first World Hepatitis Testing Day activities in Louisville.

Additional information about the dangers of hepatitis can be found in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcCcOJHUDno. Please feel free to share as part of media broadcasts or on social media.

Throughout the planned 52 Weeks of Public Health promotion, DPH will spotlight a specific public health issue. Additional information about the campaign is available on the DPH website: http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/default.htm and will be posted on the CHFS Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/kychfs where Kentuckians are encouraged to like and share posts among their networks of friends.

From KDPH Communications

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