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.
As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate lives throughout Appalachia, health officials are reporting a spike in “second wave” epidemics like Hepatitis C. One way to combat the epidemic may be more needle exchange programs like the one at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Once a month, Jeff Crist, an employee of the free clinic West Virginia Health Right, goes there to gently waylay participants as they walk in.
“Would you like to get tested for Hep. C today?” he asks patients over and over again.
One of the first needles Meagan Floyd used to shoot heroin also carried a virus that could have killed her.
The Birmingham resident found out she had hepatitis C six months after she started using. Doctors also diagnosed the disease in her boyfriend and his stepbrother, who introduced her to heroin soon after she started experimenting with opioids. They had all used together – swapping needles as casually as smokers sharing lighters. Floyd believes she got infected the first week she shot up.
After Floyd found out she was infected, but before she received treatment, she tried not to spread the disease to others. She stopped sharing other people’s needles.
The discovery of over 200 new HIV diagnoses in Indiana’s small, rural Scott County over the course of 2015 was a major wake up call for many about the dangers of ignoring the HIV prevention needs of people who inject drugs. The massive number of new cases in Scott County coupled with the ongoing epidemic of injection drug use in rural America significantly changed the political landscape around HIV prevention in the past few years, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify 220 other counties that could be vulnerable to similar HIV “outbreaks.”
The situation in Scott County led to substantive policy change in December of 2015 when the Republican-led Congress quietly reversed their stance on a federal ban barring funding from being spent on syringe access programs (SAPs) – a change that had long been sought by HIV prevention advocates. How do we holistically address the needs of these communities beyond SAPs? How do we best involve affected communities within these responses?
Public health officials in one northeastern Ontario area say the number of cases of hepatitis C is on the rise.
Algoma Public Health, with offices in Wawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Blind River and Elliot Lake, reported that the rate of new cases between 2012 and 2016 increased by 7.2 per cent, compared to a province-wide decrease of four per cent.
Similarly, according to health unit spokesperson Liisa Daoust, Algoma’s rates for those aged 20 to 29 are almost four per cent higher than the provincial average.
An outbreak of hepatitis C in mostly young, white , suburban heroin users who live in or near Princeton, NJ, made headlines after it was reported Oct. 7, 2015 at ID Week 2015 in San Diego, CA.
Ronald Nahass, MD, was a co-author of the ID Week study. He is president of ID Care, the facility where these patients were diagnosed after they got heroin detox treatment at Princeton House, a psychiatric facility that is part of the Princeton Healthcare System. ID Care has 50 clinicians and nine offices practicing out of 26 hospitals.
In an interview, Nahass discussed the outbreak and its implications.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – People are dying every day from heroin and opioid overdoses and new information was revealed Wednesday about the opioid epidemic in Hadley. Hampshire County’s opioid abuse prevention coalition met Wednesday to address the latest concerns with the opioid epidemic.
The coalition, known as HOPE, held a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Hadley Farms Meeting House. The group discussed two important issues related to the epidemic. One of those is an increasing danger from hepatitis C.
Anthony Osiki, from the Department of Health, provided current state and local data on rising rates of the highly infectious virus.