Drug Epidemic Pushing Cases Of Hepatitis C Up

Posted May 13, 2017

In the latest report, the CDC found that from 2010 to 2015, HCV (the virus that causes hepatitis C) the number of cases increased by 294 percent, with rates highest among people who injected drugs.

New cases of hepatitis C infections nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "In turn many - most, in some communities - people who inject drugs become infected with hepatitis C".

"While new medicines can now cure hepatitis C virus infections in as little as two to three months, many people in need of treatment are still not able to get it", the CDC added. The infection often produces no symptoms in its early stages, though it can lead to liver failure if left untreated. "And to me I believe that is the driver of the spread of Hepatitis C in Wisconsin and across the nation".

The report, which was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that reported cases of HCV increased by 294% between 2010 and 2015.

Hepatitis C is most commonly found in older adults but now there's evidence the virus is affecting a much younger generation. In some counties in the state, almost 8 percent of pregnant women were documented as being infected with hepatitis C at the time of delivery.

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Infants can't be screened for Hepatitis C at birth because they still have a lot of their mom's antibodies so they have to be tracked, said Patrick, who was co-author of the study. The apparent leveling off may be due to a push to test all baby boomers for the virus and the treatment improvements, said the CDC's Dr. Jonathan Mermin. Examining annual trends beginning in 2011, reported cases of acute HCV infection increased 44.3% from 2011 to 2012 (1,232 and 1,778 cases, respectively); increased 20.3% to 2,138 cases in 2013; increased 2.6% to 2,194 cases in 2014; and increased 11% to 2,436 cases in 2015.

"These programs also help link people to treatments to stop drug use, testing for infectious diseases that can be spread to others, and medical care".

"Much less frequently, hepatitis C is also transmitted through sexual contact or during pregnancy between a mother and baby", Ward said. HCV is the leading cause of death for more Americans than any other infectious disease, according to the CDC. "We suspect this is highly linked to the opioid epidemic".

MDHHS has also warned of the recent increase in Hepatitis A infection in Southeast Michigan. The CDC says state laws increasing access to needle exchange programs can reduce the risk of infection. Gee says she been forced to cut most mental health treatment services in the Medicaid program.

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) comes forth a week before National Hepatitis Testing Day, which is celebrated each year on May 19.