|Hepatitis, Everything from A to E|
How prevalent is hepatitis?
In the United States, viral hepatitis ranks third among reportable communicable diseases. Every year, more than 600,000 Americans become newly infected with some form of viral hepatitis, yet only 10 percent of these cases are reported to health authorities.
About 50 percent of the worlds reported viral hepatitis cases are hepatitis A. The hepatitis A virus is most prevalent among populations that have poor hygiene or are living in crowded conditions.
An estimated 300,000 people in the United States develop hepatitis B infection every year. Most of these people do not know that they have the disease, often mistaking it for the flu. Generally fewer than 30 percent have obvious symptoms of hepatitis, and approximately 10,000 infected people require hospitalization.
The hepatitis C virus infects nearly 150,000 Americans yearly, sometimes as a result of blood transfusions. In fact, hepatitis C is considered to be the developed worlds most prevalent transfusion-related disease.
The prevalence of hepatitis D infection in the United States is under investigation.
Hepatitis E epidemics have been reported primarily in India, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Mexico.