2009 -- H 6176

Enacted 05/05/09



H O U S E  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Representatives McNamara, and Azzinaro

     Date Introduced: May 05, 2009




     WHEREAS, Citizens of Rhode Island value their health and seek a climate in which all

Rhode Islanders will have the opportunity to live a safe and healthy life. Rhode Islanders are

proud to support observances that raise the awareness of public health issues, such as viral

hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Rhode

Island Department of Health, it is estimated that more than 3,500 Rhode Islanders are infected

with the Hepatitis B Virus and more than 18,000 Rhode Islanders are infected with the Hepatitis

C Virus; and

     WHEREAS, Eighty to eighty-five percent of those infected with Hepatitis C, and ten to

fifteen percent with Hepatitis B will develop a chronic infection, and an estimated 15,000 Rhode

Islanders will develop chronic liver disease; and

     WHEREAS, Viral Hepatitis is typically asymptomatic, and therefore infected individuals

may unknowingly transmit the virus to others; and

     WHEREAS, Persons infected with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C may not learn of their

infection until 10 to 30 years later when complications arise from chronic viral hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, Hepatitis C infection is the largest single cause of liver transplantation and

one of the principal causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis; and

     WHEREAS, Chronic Hepatitis C infection is the most common indication for liver

transplantation in the United States; and

     WHEREAS, The regional cost of a liver transplant currently averages about $350,000 for

the immediate hospital and doctor expenses, indicating that HCV prevention, testing and

treatment should be considered as cost-effective public policies; and

     WHEREAS, There are now more than 20,000 people in the United States awaiting a liver

transplant, but there are currently only about 4,900 livers available each year; and

     WHEREAS, All Viral Hepatitides (A, B, & C) are preventable through education or

immunization; and

     WHEREAS, Vaccinations exist for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, and there is a need to

promote immunizations, especially for those who are infected with other hepatitis viruses; and

     WHEREAS, No vaccine exists for Hepatitis C, and treatments have limited success,

making this infection among the most costly diseases in terms of health care costs, lost wages,

and reduced productivity; and

     WHEREAS, Early diagnosis can lead to the possibility of preventing further transmission

of viral hepatitis; and

     WHEREAS, Prevention education and other preventive measures, such as vaccination,

can lead to the prevention of viral hepatitis; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby proclaims the month of May, 2009 as “Viral Hepatitis Awareness

Month” in the State of Rhode Island; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this House hereby supports efforts to raise public awareness about the

need for increased funding for prevention education and immunization for Hepatitis A and B, and

increased research on viral hepatitis; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this House hereby applauds community organizations and health care

providers for their role in promoting awareness about viral hepatitis and the importance of early

detection, prevention education, other preventive measures (such as vaccination), and ongoing