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Boomers May Be Last Boom of Hepatitis C?


Saw this and wondered about its accuracy. Any opinons?

It emphasizes IVDU as the principal boomer source (which may be true but seems too blanket a statement to account for many of us) and second, the rates in other countries are very high and may stimulate a rise here, due to increased travel, immigration, etc. HCV does not politely stop at geographical borders.



Boomers May Be Last Boom of Hepatitis C

August 2, 2010


A new study of U.S. blood donors shows a "strikingly lower prevalence" of hepatitis C virus (HCV) compared with 1992-93, according to lead researcher Dr. Edward Murphy of the University of California-San Francisco.

HCV is a blood-borne infection that is primarily contracted from dirty syringes, but a small number of cases are sexually transmitted or passed from mother to infant during childbirth. The body can clear hepatitis C, though infections become chronic 75 percent to 85 percent of the time. CDC estimates that 1 percent to 5 percent of people with chronic HCV eventually die of cirrhosis or liver cancer.

In the early 1990s, about a half a percent of blood donors were positive for HCV antibodies, indicating either a chronic infection or past infection that cleared. From 2006 to 2007, the study analyzed samples from nearly 960,000 blood donors at six U.S. blood banks, finding less than a tenth of a percent were positive for HCV antibodies.

Murphy said the decrease probably reflects an overall decline of hepatitis C, especially among younger Americans. The baby boom generation, which had higher rates of injection drug use than subsequent generations, has more carriers of the infection and is at higher risk for HCV-related liver disease.

Two other factors for higher risk of hepatitis C among blood donors were found. Among women, the odds of having HCV antibodies increased with the number of children they had given birth to -- from 1 infection in 3,300 among women who had never given birth to 1 in 1,000 among women with five or more children.

Obese adults were less likely than their normal-weight peers to have HCV antibodies. And among those with antibodies, obese persons were less likely to have the genetic material that signals the ongoing presence of HCV.

The study, "Hepatitis C Virus Prevalence and Clearance Among U.S. Blood Donors, 2006-2007: Associations with Birth Cohort, Multiple Pregnancies, and Body Mass Index," was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (2010;202:576-584).



Excerpted from:
Chicago Tribune
07.26.2010; Amy Norton, Reuters



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/news/art57936.html

45 Responses
1225178 tn?1318984204
"HCV is a blood-borne infection that is primarily contracted from dirty syringes, but a small number of cases are sexually transmitted or passed from mother to infant during childbirth."
This makes it sound like these are the only ways people can get hep c, and we all know how rare sexual transmission and mother to child transmission is. I think somebody just pulled sentences from different reports and put it out there like they were an authority.

What about the part that says the more kids a woman has, the greater the chance of HCV?Wonder where that came from.

Diane
Avatar universal
I saw that earlier and I wasn't surprised that the incidence of HCV is decreasing. I didn't really analyze it because it sounded believable. I think the risks of disease transmission are much more top of the mind than they were in the sixties and seventies.

I am not sure I understand the implications of obese people being less likely to have HCV antibodies than normal weight people and those obese people with antibodies being less likely to have ongoing HCV infection. I don't know what to make of that. I could speculate but I don't want to risk offending anyone with my baseless speculation. All I will say is that some of the observations about obese people sound counter-intuitive to me.

Mike
179856 tn?1333550962
While it's definitely less likely to get it via a transfusion these days.....

Personally I thought that kids were really still into drugs - places like Staten Island in NY and Long Island have tremendous problems with heroin these days........anyway

What is this about does this mean that obese people have 'less sex and drugs' in thier lives according to the article?
"Obese adults were less likely than their normal-weight peers to have HCV antibodies......" I've never heard this fact before in all the years I"ve been in here.

And regarding the mom's vs. child ratio what are they implying that the more children you have the more partners you have had so the better chance you have the disease?
1225178 tn?1318984204
It sounds like the fat protects a person somehow. That sure didn't work for me. They don't give a source for that info either.
Avatar universal
Summing up this odd article:  

How to avoid getting Hep C:

1.  Get fat
2.  Don't have any children.

Of course, all of us baby boomers got Hep C from IVDU, yup...none of us got it from blood transfusions or unproperly sterilized dental equipment, military mess-ups, etc.  Nope...just IVDU and sex.
Avatar universal
I like the part where they say,

In the early 1990s, about a half a percent of blood donors were positive for HCV antibodies, indicating either a chronic infection or past infection that cleared. From 2006 to 2007, the study analyzed samples from nearly 960,000 blood donors at six U.S. blood banks, finding less than a tenth of a percent were positive for HCV antibodies.

How do they know that?  I understood they started testing blood in 1992.  And anyone who tested positive for antibodies is no longer donating blood.  

I've looked around on veterans sites because my husband does not have the disease although he has many more risk factors than I do.  He was badly wounded and had 6 units of blood tranfused, he received gamma globulin before going over seas, he had the air gun vaccinations, etc, etc,.  Now some are writing there that VA patients are not always being told they have Hep C.  So we are going to insist on another test.

It upsets me that in articles of this type the patients are always implicated and never the medical professions.  Of course there are less people showing up to donate now with the disease, they test for it now and people are asked to never donate again if antibodies show up.

When I was in my twenties, living and working in Santa Barbara, there never seemed to be enough money for the whole week.  I used to sell plasma from time to time to make ends meet.  Now I wonder how clean that procedure was.  I've had a gamma globulin shot in the eighties because of a hep B scare.  That is a blood product.  I'm no angel, but it just really bugs me that statistically they would be willing to mark down for sure that snorting coke is what caused this for me while ignoring everything else!!!  And many, many veterans were infected by injections they were ordered to take.  You never hear about that in these articles.

And by the reasoning in this article I should not have hep C.  I am a chubby middle aged woman who has never had a child.

One more random thought.  I have a young friend that has O negative blood.  For each of her two children she has had a gamma globulin shot.  Each time they make her sign a paper stating she will not sue if she develops a blood borne disease.
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