PORTLAND, Ore. --A rise in hepatitis infections has alarmed Northwest doctors because many of the victims don't even know their contagious.
Ryan Tran of Seattle never suspected he had Hepatitis B. He found out through a liver enzymes test during his annual examination.
"My primary physician notified me ... I was so scared," he said.
Tran's story isn't unusual, according to physicians at Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center.
Dr. Kris Kowdley said there's evidence that more than 5 million people carry Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C.
"But there are estimates that only about 10 percent of these individuals even know they're infected," he added.
Hepatitis symptoms typically do not show up until the disease has spread in the blood.
Kowdley recommends that certain population groups need to be screened for Hepatitis B.
"Any individual who immigrated to this country from sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia or Northeast Asia and has not been proven to be vaccinated and immune is at risk and should be tested," said Kowdley.