Half of those with Hep C are improperly tested

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Just 50 percent of those with hepatitis C are receiving proper diagnostic testing, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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According to officials, follow-up testing for the virus is crucial in determining whether an infected individual has beaten the virus. And while some who initially test positive do clear the infection without medical intervention, this group is in the minority. According to the CDC, roughly 80 percent of those infected remain so unless properly treated. Experts fear that forgoing the recommended follow-up testing is significantly contributing to serious health issues, particularly liver damage and liver cancer. The numbers for the report stem from a data analysis of reported hepatitis C cases from eight different parts of the country. Of these cases, only half included follow-up testing. According to the CDC, the other 50 percent are likely unaware of their viral status. Another key finding of the study was that baby boomers made up a whopping 67 percent of all hepatitis C infections. The CDC noted that this makes sense given that 72 percent of all reported hepatitis C deaths are among this group (born from 1945 through 1965).  According to the CDC, hepatitis C is a dangerous infection that can be devastating if left untreated.– About three million people in the U.S. are infected with hepatitis C. – Up to three out of four people who have the virus don’t know they’re infected. – Baby boomers make up the majority of hepatitis C cases. Those who received blood transfusions or organ transplants prior to 1992 are also at higher risk, as well as anyone who has ever injected drugs. – The last decade has shown a nearly 50 percent increase in hepatitis C deaths. The virus is responsible for over 15,000 deaths each year.  By Marianne Hayes

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