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"Baby Boomers"

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"Baby Boomers" and Hepatitis C

CDC now recommends one-time hepatitis C testing of all adults (18 years and older) and all pregnant women during every pregnancy. CDC continues to recommend people with risk factors, including people who inject drugs, be tested regularly. Due to high rates of HCV among baby boomers, CDC recommended as early as 2012 that people born between 1946 – 1964 should get a one-time test for hepatitis C. They estimate that 1 in 30 have been infected with HCV and the majority of people in this age group are unaware of their infection. Baby boomers are five times more likely to have HCV than people in other age groups in America.

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Routine testing for HCV of blood products used for transfusion didn't occur until 1992. Universal precautions and infection control were not uniformly practiced between 1960-1980, causing transmission of HCV via contaminated medical equipment or through contact with contaminated blood products. The virus can also be transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, if blood is present, which can be undetected if in small quantities.

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According to the CDC, HCV screening among baby boomers has increased within the last decade, yet it is estimated that 50% of all HCV positive people in this age group are unidentified. Working collaboratively with other agencies and community groups who serve this population to screen, diagnose and treat can prevent the costly consequences of chronic liver disease and liver cancer and save lives.