"Viral Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver, and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Of these, hepatitis B and C can cause chronic disease.
Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 3.5 to 5.3 million people in the United States or 1 to 2% of the population are living with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) or chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection - about 800,000 to 1.4 million people have HBV and an additional 2.7 to 3.9 million people have chronic HCV.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate for Iowa, there were 3,046,355 people residing in the state. By generalizing national estimates, it can be projected that approximately 4.3 to 5.6% of the state’s population, or 130,993 to 170,595 Iowans, are infected with the hepatitis B virus, and 1.3 to 1.9% of the state’s population, or 39,602 to 57,880 Iowans, are infected with the hepatitis C virus.
All identified forms of viral are reportable to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) as mandated by Iowa Code section 139A.3. Due to the infectious nature of each form of viral hepatitis, it is necessary that each case be reported so that prevention and control efforts may be initiated by IDPH.