PEW: With Opioid Crisis, a Surge in Hepatitis C

In a new “Stateline” article, Pew Charitable Trusts explores how the opioid epidemic is producing a surge in new hepatitis C infections. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“Like the opioid epidemic that is driving it, the rate of new hepatitis C cases has spiked in the last five years. After declining for two decades, new hepatitis C cases shot to an estimated 34,000 in 2015, nearly triple the number in 2010, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With better screening for the bloodborne disease and more treatment using costly but highly effective new drugs, hepatitis C could be eradicated, according to a new study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

But epidemiologists agree that without quelling the opioid epidemic, or ensuring that nearly all injection drug users have access to sterile needles, hepatitis C will continue to spread. It already affects 3.5 million Americans who, if not treated, could die of liver cirrhosis or cancer. At an average cost of $30,000 per person, the tab for treating everyone with the disease would exceed $100 billion.”

Read the full article to learn more.

About Kim Rodgers

Kim Rodgers serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in infectious disease and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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