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CDC: Hepatitis C Deaths Reaches Record High in the United States

May 05, 2016 01:28 PM EDT
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Deaths related to Hepatitis C has reach an all-time high in the United States, killing more people than the combined number of 60 other infectious diseases including HIV.

According to the new report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis C is accountable for 19,659 deaths in 2014. But this number could also be higher due to the underreporting of infectious diseases in death certificates.

In 2015, CDC estimated that there are about 3.5 million people living in the United States that are infected with Hepatitis C, and half of those don't even have the slightest idea that they infected.

Dr. John Ward, director of CDC's division of viral hepatitis told CNN that "Not everyone is getting tested and diagnosed, people don't get referred to care as fully as they should, and then they are not being placed on treatment."

In 2014, the number of reports cases of Hepatitis reached 2,194, but CDC officials believe that the real number of Hepatitis C cases is much higher due to its few noticeable symptoms, roughly about 30,000 cases per year.

Baby Boomers, or those born between the years of 1945 and 1965, are at greater risk of having Hepatitis C. About 75 percent of all Hepatitis infections are attributed to baby boomers. The most likely cause why baby boomers have the largest percentage of Hepatitis C is the lack of safe and sanitary injections and blood transfusion during their time, especially after the World War II.

According to the report from Washington Post, the number of deaths and news cases of HIV are continually increasing, despite the recent developments of cures, due to inaccessibility caused by the extremely high price of the treatment.

"Some insurers require patients to get prescriptions from specialists or require patients to be extremely ill before the medication will be covered," Ward said.

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