Heroin epidemic pushing up hepatitis C infections in US

This map from the new study shows the rate of hepatitis C infections among pregnant women per 1,000 live births by state in 2014. The highest rates are in rural parts of West Virginia and Tennessee, which have been hard-hit by

Hepatitis C in the US: Cases triple in past 5 years

The CDC recommends screening at least once for anyone at risk of infection, which is mainly anyone that has been born between 1945 and 1965 when hepatitis C in blood samples were basically undiagnosed.

The biggest jump in new infections is in people ages 20 to 29, the CDC said. Rural counties seem hardest hit, researcher says.

Polk County is sponsoring free Hepatitis C screenings next week. The national data was used to study overall rates of hepatitis C infections in pregnant women and the Tennessee data was used to examine individual characteristics and outcomes associated with the infection. The analysis showed that HCV rates exceeded the national average in 17 states.

The fact that contaminated needles are among the causes of hepatitis C infections leads many to believe that the opioid epidemic is somehow linked to the rise in cases. The study also examined whether states had permissive or strict sobriety requirements to get costly Hepatitis C treatment under Medicaid. A group out of Iowa City is trying to tackle the uptick in adifferent way.Providing safe and sterilesupplies to drug users.

To decide whether a state had comprehensive needle laws, the CDC explored five questions: Did the state explicitly authorize a needle exchange program? Wisconsin law does exclude needles and syringes from drug paraphernalia laws.

Daniel Raymond, policy director for the national Harm Reduction Coalition, has pushed for a needle exchange program to slow the spread of hepatitis C, according to USA Today. Did the state permit a person to disclose possession of a needle to an arresting officer to avoid criminal prosecution?

If you're unable to stop injecting drugs, then never share drug-injecting equipment. These are: improving access to treatment and recovery services; promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs; strengthening our understanding of the opioid epidemic through better public health surveillance; providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction; and advancing better practices for pain management.

Twenty-four states had policies that require some period of sobriety to receive HCV treatment through Medicaid, potentially limiting access to cures, compared with 16 states without such restrictions.

Symptoms of the disease can range massively from case to case, with some of those infected with hepatitis C experiencing only a mild illness lasting a few weeks to others suffering from a chronic sickness that lasts a lifetime. With the heroin epidemic, more people have turned to injecting drugs.

The presence of Hepatitis C at birth increased 89 percent to 3.4 per 1,000 live births from 2009 to 2014. Live Science noted that most of those who are already infected with hepatitis C in the United States are baby boomers (ages 52 to 72). About 35 infants a day nationwide are exposed to the virus from infected mothers.

"My worry is that some infants will convert to having hepatitis C without anyone knowing, or treating the infant", said Patrick. 'In some counties in Tennessee, almost 8 percent of pregnant women were documented as being infected with hepatitis C at the time of delivery'. 'West Virginia had the highest prevalence of infection among pregnant women - 1 in 50 newborns were exposed to the virus'.

Around one in four people with hepatitis C will get rid of the virus naturally.

The odds of a hepatitis C infection at birth was about three times higher for women in rural counties, according to the study.

Researchers from this study found that rural communities in Tennessee and West Virginia were significantly impacted.

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