Family or Friends Moving From Asia? You Might Want to Make Sure They Are Screened for This

The same tests and vaccinations do not occur from country to country.

According to a study of 1,246 participants where 81.4 percent were Asian, 2.9 percent tested positive for hepatitis C. Another study noted that hepatitis B and C is prevalent among the Asian population in the United States.

Yuri Genyk, MD, professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and surgeon at the USC Transplant Institute at Keck Medicine of USC, has seen a significant uptick of Asian patients who have hepatitis B and C. The reason for it? Screenings and vaccinations are not mandatory in every Asian country. Also, when a person arrives to the United States from Asia, they do not know to ask for a screening, as it’s not common knowledge to ask for a screening for something that a person may never have asked for beforehand.

Hepatitis can be passed from infected mother to her baby.

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(800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273)

Hepatitis B and C is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Some people can live with hepatitis B or C without symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, patients may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Jaundice

These symptoms can be mild and short-term, but once hepatitis is contracted, it remains in the blood and will eventually cause long-term infection that leads to serious liver damage, or cirrhosis. Having cirrhosis puts patients at a high risk for contracting liver cancer.

Afraid of what a screening involves?

Dr. Genyk says that screening is simply a blood test. “It is also important to protect your family. A hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth as well as for adults,” he explains. “If you test positive, there is treatment to help control the virus and keep it from causing long-term damage to the liver.”

Learn more about the USC Transplant Institute at Keck Medicine of USC or schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273).

By Leonard Kim