Today, the CDC announced that it is considering recommending Hepatitis C (HCV) testing for everyone born between 1945 and 1965. Currently estimates suggest that upwards of 3.2 million Americans have chronic HCV and more than 75% are not aware of their status due to a lack of symptoms.
Baby boomers represent the majority of cases – more than 75%, and are five times more likely to be infected than other adults.
While many can live with HCV without ever developing symptoms, it’s important to get tested to help prevent complications and control side effects. With antiviral medications, liver specialists can help clear the virus and prevent further help complications, like liver cancer and liver failure. In fact, Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplants in the United States today.
Before the CDC makes their final recommendation later, they are soliciting input from others experts and the public, which will be factored in to their decision.
Finding a Specialist
At the Liver Institute of Virginia, which has two offices on the campus of Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, Virginia and at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, world-renowned liver disease treatment specialist, Dr. Mitchell Shiffman, and his expert team treat Hampton Roads residents struggling with liver diseases, including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and liver cancer.
While Dr. Shiffman is currently running numerous clinical trials at his Newport News office, he is excited about the new research and looks forward to the next stage of trials. According to the Oxford team, a U.S. team of researchers is planing to carry out a larger trial of the vaccine in at-risk groups. “We can currently treat hepatitis C sufferers with a variety of methods,” notes Dr. Shiffman, “but the development of a hepatitis C vaccine, to join the hepatitis A and hepatitis b vaccine, would be crucial in helping at-risk patients avoid the disease in the first place.”