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Liver Experts Gather At University Hospital To Raise Awareness of Silent Epidemic

By Alexandra Hill, WBGO News
July 26, 2013

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Liver experts gathered at Newark’s University Hospital today to raise awareness of a silent epidemic that affects nearly one third of the world’s population.

There are five types of Hepatitis with B and C leading to most cases of liver cancer and cirrhosis. In the U. S. over 5 million people have been infected with type C, and may not even know it. Dr. Michael Jaker, Associate Professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, says the rate of infection is even greater in Newark due to the high rate of HIV infection and illicit drug use.

“We need to identify these patients, they need to know they have these infections which can be very asymptomatic and of course they can be transmitted through both shared needles and through sexual activity.”

Jaker conducted a study of anonymous blood samples that found 40 percent of HIV patients were also co-infected with Hepatitis and did not know it. He says education and awareness is key to combating this potentially deadly disease.

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