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What you need to know

What you need to know

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis Ahepatitis B, and hepatitis C.​

CDC recommends all adults get tested for hepatitis C. Click here to learn more 

Get Tested​

Chronic hepatitis often does not cause any symptoms until serious liver damage has been done Find out if you should be tested by taking a 5-minute online Hepatitis Risk Assessment. This online assessment is designed to determine an individual's risk for viral hepatitis by asking questions based on CDC's guidelines for testing and vaccination. The Assessment allows individuals to answer questions privately and print their recommendations to discuss with their doctor.

Hepatitis and Liver Cancer

  • Unlike hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections. Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver problems including liver cancer. More than 4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C in the United States, but most do not know they are infected.
  • Both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can cause liver cancer and have contributed to the increase in rates of liver cancer in recent decades. At least half of new cases of liver cancer are from chronic hepatitis C and two-thirds of all liver cancer deaths are caused by hepatitis B and C.

Priority Populations and Liver Cancer

  • Some population groups are disproportionately affected by viral hepatitis-related liver cancer. The number of new cases of liver cancer is highest in Asian and Pacific Islanders and is increasing among African Americans, baby boomers, and men.
  • With early detection, many people can get lifesaving care and treatment that can limit disease progression, and prevent cancer deaths.
  • Learn more about liver cancer.​

Hepatitis Vaccine and Treatment

  • Hepatitis A and hepatitis B can both be prevented with vaccines. Cases of hepatitis A have dramatically declined in the United States over the last 20 years largely due to vaccination efforts, however, in recent years the number of people infected has been increasing because there have been multiple outbreaks of hepatitis A in the United States resulting from person-to-person contact, especially among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men. The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children at one year of age and for adults who may be at increased risk.
  • The Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants at birth and for adults wh​o may be at increased risk.

Hepatitis C

  • While there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infections, current treatments usually involve 8-12 weeks of oral therapy (pills) which cures over 90% of cases with few side effects. Hepatitis C risk factors.

Marrum Sheikh / Viral Hepatitis Program Specialist
Infectious Disease and Control Program / Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026