AP NEWS

Maine CDC says hepatitis continues to rise in the state

May 8, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Public health authorities in Maine say the state’s sharp rise in hepatitis cases is continuing.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the increase in cases of hepatitis B and C in the Pine Tree State can be attributed to its ongoing opioid crisis. The agency says acute hepatitis B rates increased nearly 400 percent and acute hepatitis C rates went up more than 300 percent from 2013 to 2018.

The agency says the overall case counts of the diseases are in the double digits.

Hepatitis B and C can start as short-term infections, and the virus can remain in the body and result in chronic infection, leading to problems such as liver damage.

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month, and May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day.