Baby Boomers Should Get Tested For Hepatitis C

News

August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Baby Boomers should call their doctor now and arrange to be tested for Hepatitis C. The Centers for Disease Control is making that recommendation after seeing a doubling of hepatitis c deaths since the late 1990′s. Dr. Mark Mailliard is a University of Nebraska gastroenterologist and says one in 30 Baby Boomers have been infected and that population is five times more likely than others to be infected with this virus. He says around half the population doesn’t know they have the condition, or about 2-million people.

Hepatitis C can cause one-out-of five patients to develop scarring of the liver, and one in 50 to 100 patients will develop liver cancer. Dr.  Mailliard says treatment for Hep-C is available if detected early. If it’s not detected, the consequences could prove fatal. He says 15,000 people will die from it annually after 2020. He says since treatment is effective, they’re trying to identify the patients, now.

Mailliard says most patients who acquired it when they were in their 20′s have no symptoms until their 50′s. Anyone born from 1945 to 1965 is recommended to get the one-time blood test. Hep-C is spread blood-to-blood. Mailliard says it’s thought that Baby Boomers have had more “risky behavior” overall than other age groups, that have resulted in their infections. He says up to this point, just doing the testing based upon identification of risk factors, have missed millions of people who have it. That’s why officials recommend persons born between 1945 and 1965, get tested.

Of more than 3-million Americans thought to be infected, two-thirds are in the Baby Boomer age group.

(Radio Iowa)