Tennessee health commissioner encouraging hepatitis assessment

POSTED: 8:51 PM May 14 2013   UPDATED: 5:38 PM May 15 2013

The Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner is encouraging Tennesseans to take an online assessment provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find learn the risk for hepatitis.

The three most common viral types of hepatitis are A, B and C.  All types of hepatitis involve either temporary or long-term inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with vaccines.  The Department of Health says hepatitis C can often be cured if diagnosed and treated early.  It's important for individuals, particularly baby boomers, to know if they have any form of hepatitis.

"Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other U.S. residents," said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.  "By taking the simple CDC risk assessment, you can learn if you should see your medical provider for testing. If you have hepatitis, early care and treatment for this usually silent disease could save your life."

Baby boomers are defined as those born between 1945 and 1965.  The CDC says 75 percent of adults with hepatitis c are baby boomers.  It estimates one in 30 baby boomers is infected due to past exposure and has no idea he or she has a potentially deadly illness.

To take the simple test, go to  http://www.cdc.gov/HEPATITIS/riskassessment.