Hepatitis C Deaths Soar At A Record High, More Fatal Than HIV, Tuberculosis And Others

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald May 06, 06:13 am

Deaths related to Hepatitis C killed 19,659 Americans in 2014, an all-time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis C-related deaths were also greater than those from 60 infectious diseases combined, including HIV and tuberculosis.

The Washington Post reported that those born between 1945 and 1965 made up 75 percent of those infected with hepatitis C infections. Moreover, many have lived with the infection for years without knowing it. The CDC had said that these people would have been infected during medical procedures after the Second World War when injections and blood transfusions were not as safe.

Hepatitis C Deaths Going Up

"The average age of death is 59 very much in the age group of baby boomers," said Dr. John Ward via CNN. Ward is the director of CDC's division of viral hepatitis. He added that most people do not feel the effects of hepatitis C until it is very advanced.

Ward said that deaths from hepatitis C could be much higher because death certificates frequently underreport Hepatitis C. According to CNN, death certificates show 11,051 deaths in 2003, while The Washington post pegs it at 19,368 for 2013.

"These deaths should not be going up, they should be going down," Ward said. Ward added that baby boomers, or those born between 1945 and 1965, should take a one-time blood test to check for hepatitis C. If this happens, more than 320,000 deaths in the succeeding 15 years can be avoided, he added. 

Hepatitis C Curable

Daily Mail reported that according to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, hepatitis c can spread through exchange of body fluids with someone who is infected by the disease. It can happen through needles used for drugs or tattoos, unprotected sex, toothbrushes or nail clippers.

Hepatitis C can be cured if it is diagnosed early, The Daily Mail added. After a 12-week regimen of pills, the chances of being cured are as high as 90%. However, most people are not being randomly tested for the disease.

Are you concerned with the rise of Hepatitis C deaths in America? Share your thoughts below.

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