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CDC encourages baby boomers to get a hepatitis C test
Hepatitis C testing used to be mainly recommended for those at a high risk of contracting the blood-borne illness through drug use. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that one out of every 30 persons born between 1946 and 1964 have contracted the liver-attacking disease, and many of these people are unaware they have it. Therefore, the CDC recommends that all members of the baby boomer generation get tested.
According to an article in the Durango Herald, estimates indicate that 75 percent of all cases of hepatitis C in the US are found in members of the post-World War II generation, and 3 million individuals afflicted with hep C are oblivious to this fact.
"A one-time blood test for hepatitis C should be on every baby boomer's medical checklist. The new recommendations can protect the health of an entire generation of Americans and save thousands of lives," said CDC director Thomas R. Frieden.
Although hepatitis C tests may be available at a location such as an urgent care facility or an immediate care center, over-the-counter home hepatitis C blood test kits are available at many drug stores. Long-term, untreated cases of hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.
According to Mayo Clinic, hep C is a liver-attacking virus that spreads through sharing needles for injecting drugs and blood transfusions, as well as organ transplants that happened before 1992. Hep C can also be sexually transmitted, but only in rare instances.
Asymptomatic cases of the disease occur so frequently that it is not uncommon for an individual to have it for decades before a diagnosis, the Mayo Clinic further states. When symptoms do surface, they can include tiredness, joint point, nausia or poor appetite as well as fever and tenderness in the liver area.
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