(CHRISTIANSBURG, Va.) – The New River Valley has elevated rates of acute hepatitis C, and numbers are increasing every year.
Antonio Brown Jr., a public health associate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), works to prevent hepatitis C transmission in the New River Valley. During his two-year fellowship with the New River Health District Academic Health Department and Virginia Tech he will develop a comprehensive hepatitis C prevention plan. His work includes conducting interviews, identifying and investigating new cases and providing prevention education.
“Since 2012, more than 1,000 cases of hepatitis C have been reported in the New River Health District,” said District Health Director Noelle Bissell, M.D. “We have seen significant numbers of cases of acute hepatitis C infection linked to tattoo parlors, the use of homemade tattoo guns at parties and in people who report more than 10 sex partners. We’re also noticing a trend in cases associated with intravenous drug abuse, particularly methamphetamine, and in pregnant women and women of childbearing age.”