CDC urges baby boomers to get Hepatitis C test - KCTV5

CDC urges baby boomers to get Hepatitis C test

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants baby boomers to get screened for Hepatitis C.

People born during 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely than other adults to be infected.

If anyone is in that age group, they have probably had a blood draw before, say for a cholesterol test, but this is a lot easier and a lot quicker. There is no need to fast.

It is just one vial of blood, about five minutes to get the test done and results are given in three days.

Many boomers were involved in the war in Vietnam, and that meant blood. The wounded likely got transfusions.

"That blood wasn't tested, so they didn't know what they were getting," epidemiology specialist Lisa Hubbert said.

Any transfusions up until 1992 involved blood that was untested.

"From childbirth or surgery or an injury in war or any type of vehicular accidents," Hubbert said.

Tattooing, for that matter, wasn't as sanitary back in the day.

Boomers are 27 percent of the population and currently account for more than 75 percent of all Hepatitis C cases.

Kansas City had 422 cases reported in 2012. Statewide figures for Missouri could not be found, but in Kansas, it was 1,792 that year.

Hubbert said most people carrying the blood borne virus don't have symptoms, but having Hepatitis C means a much higher risk for liver problems.

"Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis in the world," Hubbert said.

If anyone knows about the risk, they can make liver-friendly changes, like lowering alcohol consumption or switching from Tylenol, or acetaminophen, to Advil, or ibuprofen, which is processed through the kidneys instead of the liver.

It is also recommended to keep weight in check.

If anyone wants to get this done, there is a free screening clinic at the Kansas City Health Department from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday. The test can also be done by just about any primary care physician.

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