The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • November 2016 Health Matters The latest news on t health and w llne is ues hat matter most • May 2017 Baby Boomers 5 Times More Likely to Have Hepatitis C New Drug Offers Promise for Cure
here are some 130 to 200 million persons worldwide infected by the hepatitis C virus, with roughly 3 to 4 million in the United States – not including high risk persons in nursing homes or prisons. Approximately 75%–85% of people who become infected with hepatitis C virus develop chronic infection. Transmitted mostly by blood-to-blood contact, people with the highest risk for contracting hepatitis C include intravenous drug users who share needles or other equipment to inject drugs, needle-stick injuries in healthcare settings or being born to a mother who has hepatitis C. Other less common causes include having received a blood transfusion before 1992 and having sexual contact with a person infected with hepatitis C virus.
through the 1980s when transmission of hepatitis C was highest and primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Baby Boomers could have gotten infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted. Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening virtually eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992. Sharing needles or equipment used to prepare or inject drugs, even if only once in the past, could spread hepatitis C. Still, many people do not know how or when they were infected. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C – although one is currently in development. Between 1998 and 2014, there were 77 investigational medicines that failed in clinical trials, but they paved the way for 12 new medicines approved by the FDA. “Nothing short of historic in scope and impact,” says Dr. Bakr. “In June 2016, the newest oral direct anti-viral agent, with one pill daily for 12 weeks, and effective with all genotypes (strains of hepatitis C), Epclusa® had excellent results, with very few drug-to-drug interactions and no significant side-effects for a 97% to 100% cure rate,” says Dr. Bakr. “It is a remarkable achievement when you look at how far we have come from 1989.” “To diagnose, we have to check for hepatitis C virus antibody, and if positive, we will check RNA levels for the viral loads,” explained Dr. Bakr, adding that some 20% to 25% of those affected can clear the virus on their own.
While anyone can get hepatitis C, 3 in 4 people with hepatitis C were born from 1945–1965. “Baby Boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults. Many of the patients infected with hepatitis C are without any symptoms, which makes it harder for them to get diagnosed. Therefore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that adults born during 1945-1965 should receive one-time testing for hepatitis C,” says Dr. Maged Bakr, MD, NCH Physician Group - Gastroenterology and Hepatology specialist. He suggests that since many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without having symptoms or feeling sick, testing is critical so those who are infected can get treated and cured. The reason that Baby Boomers have high rates of hepatitis C is not completely understood. Most of them are believed to have become infected in the 1960s
Maged Bakr, MD
Source and for more information www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis
- BORNFROM1945 1965? 1 1
HIGHEST RISK FACTORS FOR Hepatitis C
People born from 1945-1965 are 5X MORE LIKELY to have Hepatitis C
3 IN 4 people with HepatitisC were born during these years
Baby Boomers (born between 1945-1965) Recreational drug use with shared needles or straws Sharing personal care items (razors, toothbrushes) Sexual contact with a person infected with hepatitis C Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992 or had long term kidney dialysis Persons born of a hepatitis-infected mother
Left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause:
LIVER DAMAGE FAILURE CANCER
people living with Hepatitis C DO NOT KNOW THEY ARE INFECTED One Million MORE THAN
Many people can live with HEPATITIS C FOR DECADES WITH NO SYMPTOMS
SYMPTOMS OF Hepatitis C
Talk to your doctor. A blood test is the only way to know if you have Hepatitis C . Treatments are available that can cure this disease .
Fatigue Nausea or vomiting Yellowing of eyes or skin (jaundice) Dark urine Loss of appetite Gray-colored stools Joint pain
Maged Bakr, MD, NCH Physician Group - Gastroenterology is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call (239) 624-2730.
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