CDC/ACIP [to 13 May 2017]
Thursday, May 11, 2017
New Hepatitis C Infections Nearly Tripled over Five Years
Deadly virus concentrated among baby boomers and increasing rapidly among new generations of Americans
Over just five years, the number of new hepatitis C virus infections reported to CDC has nearly tripled, reaching a 15-year high, according to new preliminary surveillance data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Because hepatitis C has few symptoms, nearly half of people living with the virus don’t know they are infected and most new infections go undiagnosed. Further, limited surveillance resources have led to underreporting, meaning the annual number of hepatitis C virus cases reported to CDC (850 cases in 2010 and 2,436 cases in 2015) does not reflect the true scale of the epidemic. CDC estimates about 34,000 new hepatitis C infections actually occurred in the U.S. in 2015.
Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease reported to CDC. The data released today indicate that nearly 20,000 Americans died from hepatitis C-related causes in 2015, and the majority of deaths were people ages 55 and older.
“By testing, curing, and preventing hepatitis C, we can protect generations of Americans from needless suffering and death,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “We must reach the hardest-hit communities with a range of prevention and treatment services that can diagnose people with hepatitis C and link them to treatment. This wide range of services can also prevent the misuse of prescription drugs and ultimately stop drug use – which can also prevent others from getting hepatitis C in the first place.”…