Heroin epidemic pushing up hepatitis C infections in US

Miller says people who are actively injecting drugs should get tested for the virus every six months.

The study, which was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's, or CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showed hepatitis C infection present at the time of delivery increased 89 percent from 2009 to 2014, from 1.8 per 1,000 live births to 3.4 per 1,000 live births.

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. health officials say the heroin epidemic is driving up cases of hepatitis C. People with previously diagnosed hepatitis C should ask their doctor for a referral to a specialist who can evaluate them for the newer treatment.

"Hepatitis C is associated with more deaths in the United States than 60 other infectious diseases reported to CDC combined", the researchers write. So the CDC thinks the reported cases are only a fraction of actual infections. Most people don't get sick for many years, so they aren't tested and don't know they are infected.


US health officials said new cases of hepatitis C rose almost 300 percent from 2010 to 2015, despite the availability of cures for the liver disease, fueled by a spike in the use of heroin and other injection drugs, according to a report released on Thursday.

"By testing, curing and preventing hepatitis C, we can protect generations of Americans from needless suffering and death", said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention in a statement released today. Some experts say that one reason heroin use has soared is because the illegal drug has become much cheaper than prescription opioid painkillers and due to new limits on dispensing of the addictive legal pain medicines.

However, the majority (three-quarters) of the 3.5 million Americans already living with hepatitis C are baby boomers born from 1945 to 1965.

"It continues to call for public health approach", Patrick said.


Eighteen states had no such programs, the report found, while Maine, Nevada and Utah had the most comprehensive laws related to prevention, including syringe exchange without limitations.

In 2015, it found HCV rates in 17 states exceeded the national average.

There's the potential to eradicate the virus from the USA using a combination of infection prevention, increasing access to the new pills and making sure the drugs are taken correctly, according to the CDC's Ward.

Since hepatitis C often doesn't cause symptoms for years, Patrick said patients may not seek supportive medical care or may spread the disease without realizing it.


"Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for new HCV infections", the researchers write, referring to the disease by its initials and recommending that lawmakers "create and strengthen public health laws" to fight the disease. One study indicates that 80 percent of young people with hepatitis C live more than 10 miles from an SSP. "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".


Popular
  • I fight for these moments - Juventus match-winner Higuain relishes Monaco double

    I fight for these moments - Juventus match-winner Higuain relishes Monaco double

    Here, Press Association Sport looks at the two strikers' performances in this semi-final first leg. Until Wednesday, Juventus had never kept six consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League.

    Alvarez to take on unbeaten Golovkin

    We saw a Canelo that came forward and pressing the action for the entire fight. "This is incredible fight for everyone". Golovkin will put his WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles on the line against the WBO light-middleweight champion.
    Crosby scores twice, Bonino has victor  as Pens beat Caps

    Crosby scores twice, Bonino has victor as Pens beat Caps

    Malkin's deflection was initially waved off for goaltender interference, but the Penguins challenged and the call was overturned. It wasn't until the second that the scoring started, with Sidney Crosby scoring twice and Alex Ovechkin scoring once.
  • Clippers G Rivers expected back for Game 5

    Clippers G Rivers expected back for Game 5

    The former No. 1 pick will remain in Salt Lake City, wearing a walking boot and will return with the team after Game 4 on Sunday. First came the team's star center Rudy Gobert in Game One. "I don't look at it as a wasted effort or anything like that".
    Congress Finishes Spending Bill, Sends Legislation To Trump

    Congress Finishes Spending Bill, Sends Legislation To Trump

    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington , March 28, 2017. Even though each approval fell short of Trump's demands, the president boasted on Tuesday: "This is what winning looks like".
    Yes, It Is Possible To Get Pregnant With An IUD

    Yes, It Is Possible To Get Pregnant With An IUD

    Speaking to the press about the malfunction of the IUD and her baby boy's birth, Lucy said, "Dexter was definitely meant to be". Congrats to Lucy and her new healthy baby boy! It was found after she gave birth, behind the placenta.
  • Draisaitl helps Oilers rout Ducks 7-1 to force Game 7

    Now we get Game 7 in Anaheim Wednesday after the Ducks lost their first road game of the playoffs after four straight wins. However, down three games to two in the series, there is a silver lining for the Oilers: the Ducks have been here before.
    Beat Penguins to stay alive in National Hockey League  playoffs

    Beat Penguins to stay alive in National Hockey League playoffs

    Both Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary were back in the lineup from concussions, and everything seemed to be in Pittsburgh's favour. The team has put a lot of work into making sure they win a Stanley Cup this season. "I think that's what they were tonight".
    Now take a pill for the benefits of exercise

    Now take a pill for the benefits of exercise

    In particular, the mice developed long-distance running skills, tended to burn more fat, and were more responsive to insulin. But human trials of drugs that increase PPARD are a likely reality in the near future, the Salk researchers said.
  • Trump administration hollows out EPA science integrity board

    Trump administration hollows out EPA science integrity board

    He said industry reps make take their places on the panel. This move by the EPA is inserting politics into science. O'Grady, a leader of the EPA's employees union.
    Delhi Metro rides to cost more, discount during off-peak hours and Sundays

    Delhi Metro rides to cost more, discount during off-peak hours and Sundays

    He said the government had told the DMRC that women and students would be adversely affected in case of the fare hike. Passengers will be entitled to a 10% discount during non-peak hours - 6 to 8 am, 12 noon to 5 pm and 9 pm onwards.

    Baahubali 2, Box Office Collection - DAY 6: Film's Hindi Version Races Ahead!

    Baahubali - The Conclusion is one movie which has been performing extraordinary well at the box office all over the world. This makes the total Gross Box office collection on the 6 day of Bahubali - The Conclusion of Rs 65 Crores.

CONNECT