I felt like a Ford Escape tonight when I heard the news anchor warning Baby Boomers that they need to get to the doctor and have tests for a killer disease.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control issued an alert to the baby-boomer generation, those born in the years 1945 through 1965. The report suggests that more than 2 million baby-boomers are infected with hepatitis C and many are unaware they carry the virus.
More than 15,000 Americans die each year from hepatitis C-related illness and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade. While the baby-boomer generation makes up about 27 percent of the nation’s population, 73 percent of HCV related deaths come from the baby-boomer age group.
There is a one in 30 chance they (we) could develop hepatitis C. If undetected the disease can destroy the liver and cause death if not caught early enough.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis C causes acute infection, which can be characterized by mild to severe illness but is usually asymptomatic.
The CDC recommends all people in this group get a one-time blood test to determine if they are infected. Currently there is not a vaccine for Hepatitis C but new therapies can cure up to 75 percent of infections, according to the CDC. Untreated, the virus can lead to illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Previously the CDC only recommended testing for people with a high-exposure risk such as intravenous drug users or prison inmates.