Important Note: The original report that I posted is a poorly written report. The link here is a direct link to the published report from The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Characteristics of Inpatient Stays Involving Hepatitis C, 2005-2014.
The important take home of the study is:
-Baby boomers (patients aged 52-72 years) had the highest rate of inpatient stays involving hepatitis C in 2014: 503.1 per 100,000 population versus 155.4 for younger patients and 117.1 for older patients.
Original posting: A new report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that hospital stays for patients with hepatitis C have been on the rise since 2005, largely due to the increase of injection drug use in the opioid epidemic.
There are 3 different viruses that cause hepatitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is a contagious blood-borne infection that is today mostly spread in the United States through shared needles and syringes used to inject drugs. Less commonly, the virus can spread through sexual contact or by sharing personal items such as razors with an infected individual. Acute hepatitis C develops within the first 6 months of exposure to the virus. Symptoms can include fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain; however, up to 80% of individuals with the acute infection do not experience symptoms. When the virus persists in the body, the infection can become chronic and last a lifetime, leading to serious liver problems such as cirrhosis or cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that about 30,500 cases of hepatitis C were reported in the United States in 2014, while there are as many as 3.9 million individuals in the country living with chronic hepatitis C. In 2014, the United States saw 19,659 reported hepatitis C-related deaths, up from 11,849 deaths in 2005. Now the HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief, a report detailing findings on hepatitis C trends in the United States from 2005 to 2014. The report notes that the number of acute hepatitis C cases tripled from 2010 to 2015, largely as a result of the opioid epidemic, with mortality rates for those infected also on the rise.