Rise In Hepatitis C Deaths Draws Concern
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Hepatitis C deaths are on the rise, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds Baby Boomers especially at risk.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, the warning is prompting more Baby Boomers to get a one-time test.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
Glenbrook Hospital liver specialist Dr. Dhiren Shah said that while more people are coming to him for tests in recent months, he has seen fewer actual cases of the disease, which can progress without outward symptoms for up to 20 years.
Some say that all boomers — those ages 45-65 — should be tested. But Shah says 85 percent of those needing the test fall into three backgrounds – those who received blood transfusions before 1992, those who have had abnormal liver enzyme readings on past blood tests and those who have either snorted or injected drugs.
He said a common misconception is that the drug must have been injected. He said snorting is a definite means of transmission, and that anyone who has done so – even if it happened 25 years ago – should be tested.
Bleeding begins in its latter stages. Until then, he says, a drug cocktail can cure most patients.
“It’s a three-drug cocktail, and they all have side effects, but it’s manageable in the proper hands,” Shah said.
The price might be off-putting, however. The cocktail is more than 75 percent effective, but it can cost $50,000.