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Delaware Health Alert Network #276

September 6, 2012 9:40 am


Health Alert
CDC RECOMMENDATION FOR BABY BOOMERS:
GET BLOOD TEST FOR HEPATITIS C

The Delaware Division of Public Health wishes to alert the medical community of new CDC recommendations calling for all Americans born from 1945 through 1965 or "baby boomers" to get a one-time blood test for the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

On August 16, 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its weekly MMWR August 16, 2012 / Vol. 61. "Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945–1965"

Higher Levels of Hepatitis C in Baby Boomers

Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in the MMWR,  "In the United States, Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants and primary liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths. People born from 1945 through 1965 currently account for more than 75% of adults infected with Hepatitis C in the U.S. and are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. Each year, more than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die from Hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Unfortunately, over the last decade, deaths have been increasing steadily. Without expanded access to HCV testing, care, and treatment, mortality among those living with HCV infection will continue to rise into the next decade."

Testing Recommendations

Conducting a one-time Hepatitis C blood test for all persons born from 1945 through 1965 as a standard part of medical care will be critical to increasing diagnosis of persons with Hepatitis C and taking the first step in linking HCV-infected persons to care and treatment.

Treatment

New treatments are now available that can cure up to 75% of infections, and even more promising treatments are expected in the future. CDC estimates that implementation of these new recommendations will identify more than 800,000 additional people with Hepatitis C. Linking these individuals to appropriate care and treatment would prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and ultimately save more than 120,000 lives.”

Providers and patients should discuss HCV testing as part of an individual’s preventive health care.

Additional Information

For additional information about this or to report a case, call the Delaware Division of Public Health, Viral Hepatitis program at 302-744-1050.

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