Baby Boomers: Get Tested for Hep C

So says the CDC.

Apparently 75% of all hepatitis C cases are baby boomers.

More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C, accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. Yet most infected baby boomers do not know they have the virus because hepatitis C can damage the liver for many years with few noticeable symptoms. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade and are projected to grow significantly in coming years.

This just hit my inbox and figured I’d pass it along. Hep C is passed primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment and transfusions.   So use clean needles people.   Or not at all.

7 Responses

  1. Saw that on Friday. I’m a bit surprised that VRTX and MRK didn’t get a bump from the recommendation, since their HCV protease inhibitors will probably be front-line treatment for the infected boomers.

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  2. Have you seen anything on why the rate is so much higher among this age group? I’ve only seen the CDC release — and this really isn’t in my wheelhouse to begin with.

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  3. You can get immunized for Hep C, correct?

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  4. no vaccine for C.

    vaccines are currently available for A (contaminated food or water and the uh — fecal to oral route) and and B (blood and bodily fluids).

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  5. Yes, I remember being vaccinatined for some strains prior to a South America trip a few years back.

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  6. probably A — I got that before going to SE Asia for food sanitation reasons.
    B I got b/c of my EMT stuff.

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  7. nova:

    Have you seen anything on why the rate is so much higher among this age group?

    I think there are a number of factors, mostly that we didn’t know about HCV until the late 1980s and there wasn’t a test for HCV before 1992 or so. So, any blood transfusion, shared needle use, unprotected sex, etc. could have passed on the virus. Since you don’t necessarily show significant liver function problems until later in infection when you get cirrhosis or liver cancer, you wouldn’t necessarily suspect you are HCV positive unless you got a blood test — and you could be unwittingly passing it on. I suspect that most boomers haven’t had a test for HCV.

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