Baby boomer alert! The government has come out with a draft recommendation that all those born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for
"It's a big recommendation," says David Trump, state epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health. "It affects clinical practices, the standard of care, what private and federal insurers cover." He emphasizes that the proposal is still in its early stages and a public comment period, open through June 8, will help refine the recommendation and determine its final implementation.
Trump applauds the increased awareness it will bring. Left untreated,
"The challenge is that it's in the body for a long time without symptoms," Trump says. Across-the-board testing would help eliminate barriers to testing for people who may not want to acknowledge past lifestyle experiences.
Not only do people not show symptoms, such as the jaundice associated with other strains, but a small percentage will have normal blood and liver tests, says Ray James, a gastroenterologist with Riverside. The usual panel of liver tests gives an overview but does not test specifically for Hepatitis C. "Most get diagnosed on a random lab test for other things," he says.
The CDC estimates that screening all boomers would reveal an additional 800,000 infected people and save 120,000 lives. The Peninsula Health District is one of 10 health districts in the state that offer testing for Hepatitis C. All offer vaccinations for
The CDC has drafted a recommendation that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 should be tested for Hepatitis C, a virus that causes serious liver diseases. The proposal is open for public comment through June 8 at http://www.regulations.gov; docket ID is CDC—2012—0005.