May 2018: Hepatitis Awareness Month

WHEREAS, more than four million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis, but most do not know they are infected. People can live with hepatitis B or hepatitis C for decades without experiencing any symptoms or feeling sick; and,

WHEREAS, left untreated, chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage, including cirrhosis of the liver, hepatocellular carcinoma, and even liver failure; and,

WHEREAS, people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C have the greatest risk of liver cancer. In fact, more than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are caused by hepatitis B or C; and,

WHEREAS, people born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than other adults. Nearly 3 in 4 people with hepatitis C were born from 1945 through 1965. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all people born from 1945 to 1965 get tested for hepatitis C; and,

WHEREAS, Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people; and,

WHEREAS, increased awareness of viral hepatitis could result in modifying high risk behaviors, earlier testing, vaccination (hepatitis A & B), diagnosis, treatment, and interruption of disease transmission; and,

WHEREAS, this month we join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to raise awareness, reduce stigma, honor dedicated health professionals, local public health, and community partners, support those who are or have been affected by viral hepatitis, and remember loved ones lost;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 2018 as Hepatitis Awareness Month in Michigan.