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Baby boomers listen up: CDC proposing you get tested for Hepatitis C

Jenny Decker RN's picture
Testing for Hepatitis C

The CDC is proposing that baby boomers get tested at least once for Hepatitis C.

Baby boomers, those born between the years 1945 and 1965, should listen up. The CDC is proposing that you get tested at least once for Hepatitis C, and with good reason. It is estimated that 3.2 million Americans have the disease and half of them do not even know it because symptoms of this liver inflammation do not show up until the disease is advanced. The CDC states that 1 in 30 baby boomers are infected. Over 15,000 people will die in the next year due to the severe liver disease. Hepatitis C can cause liver damage over a period of years but it can be treated and 75 percent of cases can be cured if caught early.

According to the CDC Director, Thomas R. Frieden MD MPH, with over two million American baby boomers infected with Hepatitis C, if each one can be tested at least once, then it is possible to prevent tens of thousands of deaths from the disease. With the new care and treatments that are available now, the CDC states that prevention of the costly and severe consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver disease can save over 120,000 lives of the hopefully 800,000 that can be identified with one Hepatitis C test for each baby boomer. Hepatitis C is the not only the fastest rising cause of cancer related deaths, but it is also the leading cause of liver transplant in America.

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The CDC is announcing the first annual National Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19th. With this specific day set aside, the CDC is also proposing the testing of all baby boomers. It is also hoping to enhance their website Know More Hepatitis to bring awareness to the largely unrecognized health crisis in the United States. Awareness includes knowing the high risk groups for contracting hepatitis C.

Those most at risk for contracting Hepatitis C are the following:

• Those born between 1945 and 1965
• Anyone who has ever injected illegal drugs
• Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July of 1992, or clotting factor concentrates
• Health care workers who have needlesticks which have involved blood from patients with Hepatitis C
• Recipients of blood or organs from donor who later tested positive for Hepatitis C
• People with HIV
• People with signs and symptoms of liver disease
• Children born to mothers with Hepatitis C
• Those who have ever received long term hemodialysis treatment
• Persons with known exposure to Hepatitis C:

Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis C include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, appetite loss, yellowing of the eyes and skin known as jaundice, dark urine, grey-colored stools, and joint pain. If you are a baby boomer, go get tested! It may save your life. If anyone you know or love begins to show any of these symptoms, please see your physician and get tested as soon as possible.

Source Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention