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HHS urges healthcare workers to be aware of hepatitis risk

May 18, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, has announced that May 19 is designated as National Hepatitis Testing Day as part of the HHS educational initiative to create awareness of this deadly “silent epidemic.” Millions of people have chronic viral hepatitis and many of them don’t know that they have the virus. 

Healthcare professionals are at increased risk of contracting the virus because of their close patient contact. However, the risk is not exclusive to hospital and outpatient settings, but it is also a concern in long-term care. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus can be transmitted through improper injections, needlesticks and other infection control oversights.

HHS and the CDC have provided a five-minute online assessment tool to measure your risk. The CDC notes that chronic hepatitis does not present any symptoms until the liver is damaged.

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