South Carolina will observe national Hepatitis Testing Day on Sunday to encourage testing for viral hepatitis C, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
"Over 3 million Americans have hepatitis C, but up to 75 percent of them don't know it," DHEC deputy director of Preventive Services Dr. Lisa Waddell said in a news release. "Viral hepatitis is considered a 'silent' epidemic in the United States because it progresses slowly and rarely causes noticeable symptoms of liver damage until decades after infection."
An estimated 58,000 to 85,000 people have chronic hepatitis B or C in South Carolina, the release said. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of health problems like liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
For information about the risks for hepatitis B and C and where to get tested, call DHEC's toll-free hotline at 800-322-2437 or go to www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv .