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264121 tn?1313033056

U.S. Morbidity

I was doing some research and was shocked by the number of people in the United states now dying due to hepatitis c every year.  It seems to be a rising number.

Around 26,000 people died of hep c in the U.S. in 2006, and that's the last year for which there are mortality numbers.  To put that into context, here are some other U.S. mortality figures from 2006:

Breast cancer: 40,970
Leukemia: 22,280
Pancreatic Cancer: 32,300
Prostate Cancer: 27,350
HIV: 14,627 (does it not FLOOR you that we now have TWICE as many deaths
as there are HIV deaths, with only a FRACTION of the funding!!???)
Heart Disease: 629,191
Cerebrovascular Disease: 137,265
Diabetes: 72,914

There are expected to be around 38,000/40,000, new deaths due to hepatitis c in 2010 (if not more)

Liver disease was in the top fifteen causes of death in the US in 2006.  Actually, I think it was in the top twelve.  Here is the entire list from 2006:

1. Diseases of heart
2. Malignant neoplasms
3. Cerebrovascular diseases
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6. Alzheimer’s disease
7. Diabetes mellitus
8. Influenza and pneumonia
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
10 Septicemia
11. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease

Here's a link to the cdc information if anyone is interested:


I just found the numbers to be so compelling.  I didn't realize it was quite as bad as it is.  We certainly need a great deal more attention to it.  I've been talking to people about it more and more, and it seems as though every time I tell someone about it, someone close to them has it as well.  Everyone knows someone, or has someone they care about who is suffering from hepatitis c.  I honestly don't think we have any idea about the true dimensions of the problem in the U.S. alone, much less in some of the other countries.  And growing fast.
72 Responses
Avatar universal
Yes,the profile and prognosis has changed.
Some years ago it was accepted wisdom that only one in five would develop cirrhosis.
As the baby boomer Hep C has aged it looks more likely that the majority(if not the vast majority) will be cirrhotic by around age 65.This is thought to be due to weakenimg age related immunity
We are also learning that it is not the virus per se that causes progression but our own altered auto-immune response to chronic infection.
264121 tn?1313033056
We are also learning that it is not the virus per se that causes progression but our own altered auto-immune response to chronic infection.
Of course, I was an acute, newly infected patient with a 1b genotype, so my best shot at clearing was to treat immediately (and I did).  But if I had been chronic when I found out I had hep c, I probably would have treated quickly anyway for the exact reason you mention.  My autoimmune issues have wreaked havoc on my body my entire life, and I would have been very afraid that in responding to the hep c, my own system would eat me alive.
151263 tn?1243377877
The thing is, is that many more die of secondary issues triggered and/or exacerbated by hep C. And yet the cause of death is listed as diabetes, cancer, alcoholism etc, instead of what originally caused or greatly contributed to the actual direct reason of death. Also, hepatitis C undoubtably has and continues to make at least some impact on suicide rates. How many is not known, but hep C definitely takes a significant psychological toll on many. Based on my own experiences, I'm quite certain it has been much more than the straw that broke the camel's back on many who have died by their own hand. HCV's total toll on humanity is incalculable.
Avatar universal
That's why I think it's so important to treat early on.  In my case, probably had this disease over 30 years and didn't know it.  Working, raising kids, not eating as healtly as I should,  drinking a bit too much at times over the course of my life and at 55 years old I find out I have hepc with Stage 3 liver disease.  Had I known, wouldn't I have done things differently.  Many of us find out after the damage has been done and it's harder to treat and cure.  That's where a large percent of those with hepc are right now.  Advanced liver disease with very few options.  I'm glad there is a heightened awareness of this disease now so more will treat before it's too late.
Avatar universal
That's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading the drug inserts for Int and Riba... all the sides were saying "up to and including death" from that particular "complication" or additional new "disease". Or "up to and including acting on those thoughts".

Today I was wondering if anybody's doctor ever reminded them about disinfecting their OWN manicure or personal care items, during or after treatment. And those who didn't, could that patient have been re-infected accidentally by their own hand, and then been diagnosed as a "relapser"?  

Can you tell me the protocol on razors, or other items? Throw away sooner? Bleach them? How often?  I would die if I thought there was a chance that I actually spaced out and re-infected my own self.  Can you tell that I'm close to my start date for treatment?  I wake up nights with an OMG out of the clear blue sky.

Thank you for the list Alagirl, I was surprised to see Alzheimers at sixth.

151263 tn?1243377877
"Can you tell me the protocol on razors, or other items? Throw away sooner? Bleach them? How often?  I would die if I thought there was a chance that I actually spaced out and re-infected my own self."

I'm certainly no expert on "the protocol" for disinfecting things. But concentrated bleach is widely thought to be about as effective as it gets as a disinfectant both for viruses and bacteria (and Dr Dieterich on this forum did say that bleach was the best antiviral). I do recall some post/reference in the past where someone had "evidence" that even bleach in one form or another wasn't 100.00% effective at sterilizing something that might be contaminated with HCV. But I think it's safe to say that if the concentration of the bleach/water solution is high enough (especially if it's hot), it will do a very good job of sterilizing anything with contaminated blood on it. The catch is to give the bleach some time to do the job. For instance, don't just dip an earring in bleach water and then insert it right into your ear. Let it soak or allow the strong bleach solution to stay on whatever it is you want disinfected. Preferably for a couple days if you can. Normally hep C cannot survive outside of the human body for more than a few days. So to be on the safe side I would sterilize with strong bleach solution, leaving the solution in contact with the contaminated item for several days, and if possible a week (or even more). Better safe than sorry I always say.

But really, in practical terms, what I did in terms of razors etc was to simply throw them away as I progressed through treatment. As long as I was on the antiviral drugs I didn't really worry about being reinfected. Simply throw the razors away (assuming they are disposable) as you progress through treatment. And especially at the end of treatment you want to swap out your razors more regularly. And think carefully about any pointy objects (like scissors etc) that have been around you during treatment. But again, even if any of the objects did have contaminated blood on them, simply being outside of the body for more than a week at a time will kill the virus.

Lastly, as an added measure of protection, we have a certain limited form of immunity after successfully treating, especially from the genotype we once had. Our body has antibodies and "remembers" the virus that once swarmed in our blood, Its defenses will remain up for that particular genotype, and it probably makes us less likely to be re-infected by our old genotype, especially that found in our own old blood. It's not a foolproof form of protection, we can still be reinfected. But studies have shown that we do have a sort of limited, partial immunity (compared to a person who has never been infected with HCV). That partial immunity should make it even less likely to be reinfected by ourselves in the very unlikely event you would come into contact with your own infected blood before the effects of the antiviral drugs wear off.

In short, just use common sense! Good luck on your upcoming treatment...
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