PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 28, 2022

Judith M. Persichilli

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Health Department Recognizes World Hepatitis Day, July 28

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is recognizing World Hepatitis Day today, July 28, and joins the World Health Organization (WHO) in raising awareness about hepatitis and testing, treatment and vaccination efforts.

Hepatitis is a contagious liver disease caused by different viruses, the most prevalent being hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A can be an acute (short-term) infection that can last for a few weeks or months. While Hepatitis B and C can develop into chronic (lifelong) illness for those infected, treatment for both is available.

World Hepatitis Day is a global campaign and initiative that aims to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

“Many people who have hepatitis B and C don’t know they are infected,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk and what you can do to protect yourself and those around you, including getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.”

Hepatitis A, which can spread through contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person, can cause mild to severe infection but does not lead to chronic or life-long infection. Vaccination for hepatitis A starts with children ages 12 to 23 months, but a vaccine can be given to anyone who requests it if not already vaccinated.  

In 2021, cases reported to the state included:

  • 124 cases of hepatitis A
  • 2,387 cases of chronic hepatitis B
  • 40 cases of acute hepatitis B
  • 4,970 chronic hepatitis C cases
  • 94 acute hepatitis C, and
  • 7 perinatal hepatitis C cases

Hepatitis B is spread through an infected person’s blood and body fluids, and can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth. Hepatitis B can cause acute or chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis C spreads through contact with infected blood through sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs. It can also spread via needle stick injuries in healthcare settings, being born to a mother with hepatitis C, or sharing personal care items, such as toothbrushes with an infected person. Less commonly, people can be infected through sexual contact with an infected person. Chronic hepatitis C can result in serious, even life-threatening health problems like cirrhosis and liver cancer. While there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, individuals can take steps to prevent transmission such as never sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment, and can seek treatment if they do become infected.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends universal screening for hepatitis C, meaning all adults aged 18 years and older should be tested regardless of risk factors at least once in a lifetime. The CDC also recommends that pregnant people should be tested during their pregnancy. Getting tested for hepatitis C is important because treatments can cure most people with hepatitis C in 8 to 12 weeks.

For more information on hepatitis A, B and C, as well as an interactive directory to find free or low cost publicly funded hepatitis services, including vaccination, testing and treatment, visit NJDOH’s hepatitis dashboard.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and LinkedIn /company/njdeptofhealth.

Last Reviewed: 7/28/2022