Baby boomers urged to get hepatitis C tests
Health officials are calling on baby boomers to get a hepatitis C test in observance of Hepatitis Awareness Month. As many as 39,000 Minnesotans live with the virus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
"To identify undetected cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending a one-time blood test for hepatitis C for everyone between the ages of 48 and 68," said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health.
Hepatitis C, which causes liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer, is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S., according to the MDH. Nationally 15,000 Americans — most of them baby boomers — die from hepatitis C-related illnesses annually.
If discovered early, hepatitis C can be cured in as many as 75 percent of cases using new therapies, the CDC says.
For more information on hepatitis C and when to get tested, visit http://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/.