DURHAM — A federal judge has ordered North Carolina prisons to expand testing and treatment for hepatitis C, which kills more American than any other infectious disease.
The injunction follows a class-action lawsuit filed by three inmates who say thousands of incarcerated people in North Carolina are going undiagnosed due to a lack of universal hepatitis C testing. Hundreds with the liver infection are developing health complications while the state denies them potentially life-saving medication, the lawsuit states.
U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. issued a ruling Wednesday that calls for the N.C. Department of Public Safety to screen all inmates for hepatitis C, unless they opt out. The state’s current policy only calls for testing people with risk factors.