New York State Department of Health Releases Hepatitis B and C Annual Report

Newly Reported Acute Hepatitis B And C Cases Decreased in 2022

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 22, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today released the Hepatitis B and C Annual Report 2022, which highlights decreases in newly reported acute hepatitis B cases, hepatitis C cases, and acute hepatitis C cases from 2021 to 2022.

"Hepatitis C can be a life-threatening disease, yet I am thankful this disease is treatable and curable," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "All New Yorkers should talk to their doctors about their risk and getting tested and treated if they are determined to have this disease."

From 2021 to 2022, newly reported acute hepatitis B cases declined 21 percent, newly reported chronic hepatitis C cases declined 15 percent, and newly reported acute hepatitis C cases declined 9 percent. The full report can be found here.

The report highlights hepatitis B and C surveillance in New York State (outside of New York City), including:

Hepatitis B

  • In 2022, 1,984 cases of hepatitis B were newly reported. In 2022, there was a 21 percent decrease in newly reported acute hepatitis B cases, compared to 2021; and an 11 percent increase in chronic hepatitis B cases compared to 2021. There were no new perinatal hepatitis B cases reported in 2022. In 2022, the case rate was 17.4/100,000.
  • The highest rates of newly reported cases of hepatitis B were among males and individuals aged 40 to 44.
  • Forty-seven percent of female cases were of reproductive age (aged 15-44).
  • Among cases with known race, 35 percent were among people reported as Asian/Pacific Islander. Among cases with known ethnicity, 85 percent were among people reported as non-Hispanic.

Hepatitis C

  • During 2022, 3,374 cases of hepatitis C were reported, including 4 perinatal, 257 acute, and 3,113 newly reported chronic cases. Chronic cases accounted for 92 percent of all newly reported cases, and acute cases for 8 percent. Perinatal reports accounted for less than 1 percent of all reports. Newly reported chronic cases decreased by 15 percent while newly reported acute cases, which represent a recent infection, decreased by 9 percent compared to 2021. The case rate in 2022 was 29.6/100,000.
  • Case rates were highest in males and in individuals 30 to 34 years of age.
  • Although historically, the highest proportion of newly reported cases used to be among Baby Boomers (persons born between 1945-1965) in 2022, Baby Boomers represent only 26 percent of all newly reported cases while cases reported in people under the age of 40 represent nearly twice as many (47 percent).
  • Sixty percent of female cases were of reproductive age (aged 15-44).

Hepatitis B and C are caused by viruses that infect the liver. Infections can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Long term infections may lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, or death. Symptoms of hepatitis B and C infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice (yellow color in the skin or the eyes).

Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected or has not been vaccinated. A safe and effective vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis B. Medications are available for chronic HBV infection that can manage the disease by suppressing the virus.

Adults are more likely than children to develop symptoms of hepatitis B. However, up to 50 percent of adults who have acute infection do not have any symptoms. Most people with chronic hepatitis B do not have any symptoms, do not feel ill, and remain symptom-free for decades.

Hepatitis C virus is found in the blood of individuals who have the disease. Hepatitis C is spread when the blood of an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected, such as through sharing needles or "works" when participating in drug use or occupational needle stick injury. Approximately 40 percent of people living with hepatitis C do not know it. After the initial infection, 75 to 85 percent of people will become chronically infected. If left untreated, many people may develop serious liver disease, sometimes decades after the initial infection. Although no vaccination is currently available to prevent hepatitis C, safe and effective treatments cure most people.

The New York State Vaccines for Adults (VFA) Program provides vaccines at no cost to eligible adults. The vaccines are distributed to health care facilities that are enrolled as VFA providers.

In November 2021, New York State released its New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan and joined the global public health effort in a commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030. The plan outlines a set of recommendations to address the inequities that sustain the hepatitis C epidemic in New York State. The plan focuses on five key areas: Prevention, Care and Treatment Access, Testing and Linkage to Care, Surveillance, Data and Metrics, and Social Determinants of Health.

Information on Hepatitis B can be found here.

Information on Hepatitis C can be found here.

Information on the Vaccine for Adults Program can be found here.

New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Plan can be found here.

The New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Dashboard can be found here.