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Chronic Hepatitis C Infection Still an "Underappreciated National Epidemic" — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 4, 2014

Chronic Hepatitis C Infection Still an "Underappreciated National Epidemic"

By Kelly Young

About 1% of the U.S. population is living with chronic hepatitis C infection, according an Annals of Internal Medicine study.

Researchers analyzed NHANES data from 2003 to 2010. Nearly 300 people out of 30,000 had detectable hepatitis C RNA — translating to about 2.7 million people living with HCV infection in the U.S.

This actually represents about 500,000 fewer chronic HCV infections than the NHANES estimate from 1999 to 2002. The reduction is likely related to increasing HCV mortality among baby boomers, the authors suggest. They recommend following the CDC's 2012 recommendations to screen all boomers once for HCV infection and refer them to appropriate care and treatment. (The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made a similar one-time screening recommendation in 2013.)

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