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Hepatitis C Tests Recommended for Baby Boomers

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Updated: 8/01/2013 2:14 pm

The Butte County Department of Public Health is urging Baby Boomers to be tested for Hepatitis C at least once.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has recommended that all Baby Boomers (persons born between 1945 and 1965) should be tested at least once. According to a press release from the Butte County Department of Public Health, Baby Boomers make up approximately 75% of people who are infected with the virus.

“This age group is 5 times more likely to contract the disease than any other age group,” said Ellen Michels, Public Health Education Specialist with Butte County’s Public Health. “This is because we didn’t know much about the virus prior to 1992 when the blood supply wasn’t even screened for it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it estimates one time testing would detect an additional 800,000 infections and potentially save more than 120,000 lives.  

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that inflames and scars the liver and is often referred to as the “silent disease” because many will not have any symptoms until extensive liver damage has occurred. The Butte County Public Health Department stated that two percent of the population of the U.S. has HCV, with approximately 4,000 people in Butte County. The infection may lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or even death.

Along with Baby Boomers, the department also urges the following groups of people to be tested for Hepatitis C:

*Those who have received blood products with clotting factor before 1987

*Have received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992

*Have ever injected drugs, even once

*Have been diagnosed with HIV

*Have been on kidney dialysis for several years

*Health or public safety worker who have been stuck with a needle or other sharp objects with blood from a person with Hepatitis C or unknown Hepatitis C status

*Someone born to a mother with Hepatitis C

For more information, including preventative measures to avoid potential exposure to the virus, visit www.buttecounty.net/publichealth

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