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Hepatitis C up in the county

Hepatitis C has sharply increased in Tuscarawas County in recent years.

Submitted

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, which is sometimes referred to as HCV.
 
HCV primarily affects the liver. In the early stages of the infection people often have mild or no symptoms at all. However, in over 75 percent of people infected the virus continues to the chronic phase, which will eventually lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, dark urine, fatigue or yellow skin. Over many years chronic HCV often leads to liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver failure or liver cancer also may develop.
 
HCV spreads primarily through blood-to-blood contact. This contact may occur due to poorly sterilized medical equipment, needle stick injuries or IV drug use. Tattooing is associated with increased risk of HCV. This is due to improperly sterilized equipment or contamination of the dye. It also can spread from a mother to a baby during birth. Sexual transmission of hepatitis C is uncommon.
 
Baby boomers or people born from 1945-65 are five times more likely to have hepatitis C. Per the Centers for Disease Control, the reason that 3-in-4 people with HCV were born from 1945-65 is not completely understood. However, it is assumed these people were more likely to have become infected from the time of the 1960s through the 1980s when transmission of HCV was highest. If born during these years, it is recommended you get tested for HCV.
 
There is currently no vaccine against hepatitis C. In 2014 Tuscarawas County had 40 new cases of HCV reported; however, in 2015 the number increased to 80 cases. In 2016 the number of HCV confirmed cases in Tuscarawas County again increased to 102.
 
HCV is not spread by sneezing, hugging, coughing, or sharing utensils or drinking glasses. However, everyone should take appropriate precautions to avoid any blood-to-blood contact with others. If you know someone who has HCV, avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors.
 

Published: August 10, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170809934