American Citizens Infected With Hepatitis C Drop Due to Increased Deaths

American Citizens Infected With Hepatitis C Drop Due to Increased Deaths

It appears that the number of American citizens who are infected with hepatitis C has been falling, but this is most likely due to more individual who suffer from the virus are ending up dying because of it, stated researcher in a government report that was released on Monday. After studying the information of thousands of people who had partook in a national health survey, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figured that around one percent of the population of the United States that were above age 5 are suffering from hepatitis C. That is about 2.7 million people that have the virus, which is also called HCV.

The researchers also projected that close to 1,000,000 additional people may have once suffered from the liver disease but do not now have any sort of active infection. It is also believed that nearly two percent of the U.S. population has either a prior or present-day HCV infection. This is in reference to another research study which was printed in Tuesday’s copy of Annals of Internal Medicine.

All of these statistics have been based on the survey information which was gathered between the years 2003 to 2010. The numbers appeared lower than in past studies the researchers stated. If there had been better treatments which were curing people, then there would be a decrease in the amount of people who have recent HCV infections.  Instead it seems to show that mortality among infected individuals with the chronic virus has went up.

Hepatitis C is a hazardous infection that attacks the liver. It has become the top cause of liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and is the main reason for liver transplants in America, stated the CDC. A few patients who end up with HCV are able to recover in only a couple of weeks, but over 75 percent go on to come down with chronic infections which may last for their entire lives. The virus is able to be spread by contact with infected blood and it is believed that hepatitis C is killing more United States citizens every year than HIV.

The scientists at the CDC also studied information that was able to pinpoint various risk factors that are linked with having HCV. In comparison to Americans who had never suffered from the infection, those who had HCV were much more likely to have had a blood transfusion before the year 1992 and/or to have inserted illicit drugs in their bodies. However, nearly 50% of individuals who suffered from chronic HCV did not have these risk factors in their backgrounds. So just to go by risk based screenings is an inadequate approach to being able to identify any chronically ill individuals.

Those who had hepatitis C were found to also more likely be men, be between the ages 40 and 59,  have lower income in their families and also have less education. Around 80 percent of people suffering from HCV were born between the years of 1945 and 1965. This is the main reason why the CDC endorses the idea that people who have been born during this time period be tested at least one time in their lives.

Such screenings would be able to find around 800,000 individuals whom might not otherwise find out that they were infected with HCV. If these people were able to get the treatment they needed, it is believed that around 120,000 deaths from hepatitis C might be avoided, stated the scientists. The health improvements of HCV therapy will only become reality when individuals who have HCV have been tested, recognized and put together with the correct treatment.

Since the number of American citizens who are infected with hepatitis C appears to be falling, but this is most likely due to more individual who suffer from the virus are ending up dying because of it, stated researcher in a government report that was released on Monday.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Medscape News

The L.A. Times

Web MD News

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