Drug epidemic increases Hepatitis C cases in Wisconsin

Drug epidemic increases Hepatitis C cases in Wisconsin

Drug epidemic increases Hepatitis C cases in Wisconsin

Health officials are reporting a dramatic increase in the amount of new hepatitis C cases detected in the United States between 2010 and 2015, despite available treatments and high cure rates for the disease.

Reports of new infections have grown nearly 300 percent, or almost triple, between 2010-2015, according to a report from the Centers of Disease Control.

CBS News reports an estimated 3.5 million Americans live with hepatitis C, making it the country's most common blood-borne infection.

"We know that most of the folks we work with say that they do not share their needles with anybody, so that's going to prevent the transmission of Hepatitis C to others", Stokes said. But 75-85 percent of cases develop into chronic hepatitis C, which is still infectious and can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. The infection often produces no symptoms in its early stages, though it can lead to liver failure if left untreated.

The study joins other evidence pointing to the devastating effects of opioid abuse on hepatitis C rates.

"We suspect it is linked to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the U.S.", said Patrick, explaining his team previously found a 5-fold increase in infants having opioid withdrawal after birth with newborn opioid withdrawal occurring at higher rates in rural areas. The highest rates were in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, despite a lack of increased funding for detecting new infections by the CDC during the years the survey was conducted.

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Regions hardest hit by opioid overdose deaths were also most likely to see jumps in hepatitis C, the report noted. "We have a cure for this disease and the tools to prevent new infections". Compared to hepatitis A and hepatitis B, HCV does not have preventative vaccines.

The findings indicate that women of childbearing age need access to hepatitis C testing and treatment, said study senior author Dr. Carolyn Wester. Additionally, the agency estimates that somewhere between 850,000 and 2.2 million people are living in the USA without knowing they are infected with the hepatitis virus.

A new report from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center finds a startling rise in the number of newborn babies at risk for Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease reported to CDC. He added that it's also imperative to follow infants exposed to hepatitis C in the womb in case they develop the virus.

MDHHS has also warned of the recent increase in Hepatitis A infection in Southeast Michigan. Specifically, these 18 states do not have laws authorizing a syringe exchange program. "We suspect this is highly linked to the opioid epidemic".

'Anyone born between 1945-1965, or who has ever used IV drugs, or is otherwise anxious about hepatitis infection, is encouraged to discuss with their clinicians whether testing may be appropriate for them, ' he said.

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