Michigan Receives Funding for Hepatitis Prevention and Surveillance

December 3, 2012

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has receiving funding for a three-year $1.6 million grant to support disease surveillance of acute and viral hepatitis.  The grant, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will also serve to provide hepatitis prevention education in healthcare settings and public health programs.

According to a MDCH Press Release:

“This is the first time Michigan has been awarded funding for viral hepatitis surveillance,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “I commend MDCH across multiple public health fields such as epidemiology, prevention, substance abuse, immunizations, corrections and the laboratories, for their collaborative efforts which led to the success of this grant application. Hepatitis affects millions of Americans, and opportunities such as this are critical to detecting and treating those cases.”

About 65 to 75 percent of the infected population is unaware they have hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) because of the asymptomatic nature of these diseases. Most cases are not reported until they have symptoms of advanced disease such as chronic liver disease or a type of liver cancer, of which HBV and HCV are the leading causes.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that 2.7-3.9 million people in the United States are living with chronic HCV infections. In 2011, there were more than 7,000 confirmed cases of HCV reported to MDCH in Michigan. While more than 63 percent of those cases are in the baby boomer population, born from 1945 through 1965, an alarming 17 percent of those reported in 2011 were young adults between the ages of 15 and 29.

This funding will allow MDCH to improve surveillance systems and increase the awareness of viral hepatitis among public and private providers. Working with providers is critical to ensuring that patients are tested and learn their status so that they can seek care and treatment sooner.

Click here to read the MDCH press release.

For more information about hepatitis, visit the CDC’s hepatitis webpage.

Photo credit: Michigan Department of Community Health

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