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CDC Recommends All Baby Boomers Test for Hepatitis C

CDC Recommends All Baby Boomers Test for Hepatitis C

The Center for Disease Control announced that all baby boomers get a one-time blood test for the hepatitis C virus. In a public announcement, the CDC stated:

All U.S. baby boomers should get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus, according to final recommendations published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 30 baby boomers – the generation born from 1945 through 1965 – has been infected with hepatitis C, and most don’t know it. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases, including liver cancer (the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths) and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.

The Associated Press reports that around 15,000 Americans die every year from hepatitis C-related illnesses. It sometimes takes decades for symptoms of the virus to appear in people carrying it. It can be spread through sharing of needles but health professionals note that blood transfusions before 1992 carried the possible threat of hepatitis C because screening for the virus only began after that year.

The virus especially affects the liver and its functions. The infection can eventually cause liver cancer and deep scarring of the liver tissues. Although people that have shared syringes because of drug use are typically at  high risk, professionals note that the virus may have been contracted through something as simple as sharing a toothbrush.

So, why are baby boomers the primary concern of the CDC suggestion? According to the study results, this group of adults are five times more likely to be infected. Only about 3 percent of this population tests positive for the virus but doctors lament how many people come to them after the infection has already caused serious damage. Many of those people already face risks of cancer or the need for a liver transplant.

The announcement also reflects an increasing number of people dying from infections between 1999 and 2007, with numbers almost doubling in those years.

A recent hepatitis C scare also rocked the nation when a medical technician was recently caught reusing syringes and spreading hepatitis C to patients in various medical facilities. Dozens of people were possibly affected by the actions of David Kwiatkowski, who worked at more than one medical facility over the course of four or five years.

The dangerous threats of the lingering infection remain particularly pertinent. The CDC’s announcement comes with an underlying ray of hope. They estimate that around 800,000 additional cases could be detected under this new guideline and that 75 percent of those cases can be cured with modern therapies.

Without the testing, the CDC warns that the rate of infections could continue to grow in the United States and threaten more lives with liver cancer and failure.

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Photo Credit: GrahamColm

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63 comments

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7:03AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

Debbie V., what a stupid thing to say!

First of all, noone is *forced* to get tested, it's just highly recommended.

Second of all, the results of the tests are kept confidential.

And third, the test is for the patient's own safety and health! Not to mention it could prevent the spread of the disease -- protecting public health is a serious, serious matter..

I am honeslty BUFFLED by how easy it is for a lot of Americans to use the word "unconstitutional". I see it done so often and so easily, it has diminished the Constitution to a bunch of rules that can be bent this way or the other, just so EVERYONE can do what they please. Jeez.

11:54AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

This is just another ruse!!!
i'm with Linda J.......and agree with her "should read" "Baby Boomers need to get injected with Hepatitus C instead get checked for Hepatitus C".....!

1:18AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

T.U.

8:02PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

I think forcing anyone to be tested is unconstitutional.

6:19PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Baby boomer speaking here- I don't thinks so.

5:02PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Thanks

11:05AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

1:44AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Thank you for this article,

9:49PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

I think this should read..... "Baby Boomers need to get injected with Hepatitus C instead get checked for Hepatitus C"...I'm sorry but I DO NOT TRUST THE CDC, FDA, or USA with my health and never will. They are forcing us to eat GMO food which is killing us. The buffoons running these organizations have not proven to me that they care a whit about my health.....it's just about the LOVE of money.

5:25PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Drug use? what about the sexual revolution with the only protection being the pill, no condom or diaphram to be a barrier. One night stands, swinging parties,cheating, it's amazing more people don't have it. I thought there was no cure for hep C, just for hep B.

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