Saturday, May 12, 2012

Group considers recommending universal hepatitis C testing

Group considers recommending universal hepatitis C testing

Updated: 2012-05-11 15:55:36 CST

Rates of hepatitis C have increased dramatically in the past few years, which has left public health agencies scrambling for a solution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently considering a robust response to the situation.

The Houston Chronicle reports that officials at the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis are considering recommending that every person born between 1945 and 1965 undergo blood testing for the infection.

The problem is so pressing among this age group because many people were infected through blood transfusions, as donors during this period were not screened for hepatitis C. Today, about three-quarters of the people infected with the disease were born during this 20-year stretch.

John Ward, the director of the division considering the recommendations, told the news source that the cost-benefit ratio for university hepatitis C screening would be similar to that of breast cancer or high blood pressure.

Testing for the condition is important because many people are infected and do not know it. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease reports that liver damage is the first sign of an infection, but it takes about 10 years for these symptoms to surface.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800773868-ADNFCR

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