Hepatitis C

Medical Intel from MedStar Washington Hospital Center

If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other age groups.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can affect the liver and left undetected, can result in long-term health problems or fatal liver disease. The good news is that over 90% of patients can be cured through a treatment plan of 8 to 24 weeks, using newly approved drugs with minimal toxicity. Unfortunately, over 50% of those who have the disease don’t realize they have it. Often there are no symptoms until it has progressed to end-stage liver failure.

New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Preventive Services Task Force encourage testing for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, and for those with other risk factors.

In addition to the age recommendation (above), the CDC indicates the following persons may have a higher risk of infection:

  • Current or former injection drug users, including those who injected only once many years ago
  • Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987, when more advanced methods for manufacturing those products were developed
  • Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July 1992, when better testing of blood donors became available
  • Chronic hemodialysis patients
  • Persons with known exposures to HCV, such as:
    • health care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood
    • recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested HCV-positive
  • Persons with HIV infection
  • Children born to HCV-positive mothers

To find a MedStar physician, please call

202-759-0267

As heard on WTOP Radio:

Glenn Wortmann

One-time tests can be administered by primary care physicians. If you have hepatitis C and would like to schedule a consultation with an infectious disease specialist, call 202-759-0267.

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