Half of people with hepatitis C don't complete needed tests - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Half of people with hepatitis C don't complete needed tests

Updated: May 7, 2013 04:59 PM EDT
&copy iStockphoto / Thinkstock © iStockphoto / Thinkstock

TUESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Only about half of Americans who are infected with hepatitis C undergo follow-up testing to determine if they are still infected, federal officials reported Tuesday.

"Many people who test positive on an initial hepatitis C test are not receiving the necessary follow-up test to know if their body has cleared the virus or if they are still infected," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an agency news release.

"Complete testing is critical to ensure that those who are infected receive the care and treatment for hepatitis C that they need in order to prevent liver cancer and other serious and potentially deadly health consequences," Frieden said.

A blood test, called an antibody test, is used to check if a person has ever been infected with hepatitis C. For people who have had a positive result, a follow-up test -- called an RNA test -- can determine if they are still infected so they can receive necessary care and treatment.

Some people's bodies can clear hepatitis C infection on their own, but about 80 percent of people with hepatitis C remain infected and can develop major health problems.

In this study, researchers analyzed data from eight regions across the United States. Only 51 percent of the hepatitis C patients reported in these regions had a follow-up test, according to the Vital Signs report from the CDC.

"Hepatitis C has few noticeable symptoms, and left undiagnosed it threatens the health of far too many Americans -- especially baby boomers," Dr. John Ward, director of the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis, said in the news release. "Identifying those who are currently infected is important because new effective treatments can cure the infection better than ever before, as well as eliminate the risk of transmission to others."

About 3 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, and as many as 75 percent do not know they are infected. The study found that 67 percent of all reported cases of current hepatitis C infection were among baby boomers, which includes people born from 1945 through 1965.

All people born in the United States during those years should be tested for hepatitis C, the CDC advised. The agency also recommended testing for other people at increased risk, including injection-drug users and people who received blood transfusions or organ transplants before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about hepatitis C.

Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Stopping Tinnitus In Its Tracks

    Stopping Tinnitus In Its Tracks

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:15:06 GMT
    Terry Price had tinnitus: a constant high-pitched ringing in the ears. He had to give up music and even contemplated retiring. Now, researchers are planning a clinical trial to test Vagus nerve stimulation.
    more>>
    Terry Price had tinnitus: a constant high-pitched ringing in the ears. He had to give up music and even contemplated retiring. Now, researchers are planning a clinical trial to test Vagus nerve stimulation.

    more>>
  • Growing Stem Cells In Space?

    Growing Stem Cells In Space?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:15:09 GMT
    Hemorrhagic stroke is responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths. It happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.more>>
    Hemorrhagic stroke is responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths. It happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.more>>
  • New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:00:21 GMT
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.
    more>>
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.

    more>>
  • Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:15 PM EDT2014-04-21 22:15:09 GMT
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.
    more>>
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.

    more>>
  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.