July 28, 2018 is World Hepatitis Day.

In Canada, 44% of people living with chronic HCV are unaware they have the disease, despite availability of screening and access to effective treatment.

In 2017, there were 285 cases of HCV reported to Peel Public Health. Although many cases are initially asymptomatic, early diagnosis and treatment of HCV is important to decrease the risk of long-term complications.

Screening for people at risk:

  1. Currently or ever injected drugs
  2. Ever shared any drug equipment
  3. Have HIV or chronic HBV
  4. Were infants born to HCV infected mothers
  5. Lived or travelled to endemic countries
  6. Received blood, blood products or organs
  7. Have had blood-to-blood contact with a HCV case

Diagnosis is made easily by ordering a blood test.

Treatment: 95% of people with chronic HCV can be cured with direct acting antivirals.

Note: Patients diagnosed with HCV are eligible to receive publicly funded Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal vaccines.


Harm Reduction Services in Peel:




Hepatitis B in Peel

The rate of reported acute and chronic infections with HBV is consistently higher in Peel compared to the Ontario average. Acute cases of HBV can be asymptomatic, so many cases are not diagnosed until they are chronic. in 2017, Peel had 13 reported cases of acute HBV, and 247 of chronic HBV.

Most common risk factors in Peel residents:

  1. Lived or travelled to endemic countries
  2. Condomless sex with HBV positive partner
  3. Acquiring a tattoo while travelling

Prevention by vaccination for all students in Grade 7 and high risk population:

  1. Sexual and household contacts of an HBV case
  2. Infants born to HVB carriers
  3. Men who have sex with men
  4. People with multiple sex partners or history of a sexually transmitted infection
  5. People who inject drugs or on treatment for opioid use disorder
  6. People who have received blood, blood products or dialysis
  7. People with chronic liver disease including HCV
  8. Children under 7 years old who originate from endemic countries

Please consult your physician for vaccination for HBV and being screened for HBV and HCV if you belong to one of high risk groups above. Take these infections seriously as they can cause chronic liver disease and cancer.