New Hepatitis C Infections Nearly Tripled in Five Years — CDC Report

Francis Osborne
May 13, 2017

The CDC estimates the number of infections in 2015 was 34,000, or twice as many as the 2010 estimate. Symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain and jaundice.

The biggest jump in new infections is in people ages 20 to 29, the CDC said. Rates were three times as high in rural areas of the state compared to urban counties. Compared to hepatitis A and hepatitis B, HCV does not have preventative vaccines. Most people don't get sick for many years after they are infected. Many stemmed from the growing use of injected drugs linked to the current opioid epidemic, officials said. Over the course of many years, the virus can cause liver damage resulting in cirrhosis, liver cancer, and sometimes death.

Hepatitis C is transmitted from mother to child in about 6 percent of cases.

Hepatitis C is not just a disease contracted by people who inject drugs.

However, it is not only drug users that can be infected. Did the state exempt syringes from the definition of drug paraphernalia?

Used syringes rest in a pile at a needle exchange clinic in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Did the state permit a person to disclose possession of a needle to an arresting officer to avoid criminal prosecution?

The report also looks at whether states permit the retail sale of syringes without a prescription. Image credit: Penn State News.

"So we didn't have a lot of the issues that many communities had related to legality of (needle exchange) programs", Stokes said. From January through mid-April this year, there were 95% fewer cases than during the same period last year, the Post reported.

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"The hepatitis C epidemic has been on the rise". This then increases the risk of infants being infected as well.

Alarmingly, a study released alongside the CDC report finds that heroin use is also driving a sharp increase of hepatitis C cases among pregnant women, particularly in rural areas.

Treating all inmates "would have a profound public health impact by significantly reducing the spread of the disease in the general population", FJI said. Researchers found wide variations in hepatitis C prevalence at delivery.

Tennessee had 10.1 hepatitis C infections per 1,000 live births in 2014. West Virginia had the highest infection rate in 2014 at 22.6 per 1,000 live births.

Researchers found notable increases in West Virginia as well as in rural counties of Tennessee.

Diving deeper, Patrick and his colleagues examined individual features associated with hepatitis C infection in Tennessee. 'In some counties in Tennessee, almost 8 percent of pregnant women were documented as being infected with hepatitis C at the time of delivery'.

This high death rate can be partially attributed to the fact that many Americans with hepatitis C may not even realize they have the disease at all.

The complaint says that only five inmates were treated with the lifesaving medications.

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