CDC: Baby Boomers Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C


English: Simplified diagram of the structure o...

English: Simplified diagram of the structure of Hepatitis C virus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Public Health

Aug 17, 2012

Americans born between 1945 and 1965 are at particularly high risk for Hepatitis C and should be tested, according to new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: CDC: All Baby Boomers Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C
The CDC is calling for all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 to be tested for the Hepatitis C virus as part of expanded recommendations to limit related illnesses and deaths that were released today (Rao, 8/16).

NPR: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Boomers
Listen up, baby boomers. The government wants every one of you to get tested for the hepatitis C virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a sweeping recommendation official amid growing concern about the estimated 2 million boomers infected with the virus, which can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. The advice was published in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC officials say most of these people don’t know they are infected and will develop liver disease unless they get treatment that clears the virus from the body (Hamilton, 8/16).

The Des Moines Register: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing For All Baby Boomers
Federal experts drew a “thank God” from John R. Chamberlain on Thursday by recommending that all baby boomers be tested for the hepatitis C virus. The Des Moines man is 49, which puts him at the young end of the baby boom generation. He said it makes sense that people in his age group are particularly likely to have contracted the blood-borne virus, which can take decades to cause serious liver damage (Leys, 8/16).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

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CDC: All Baby Boomers Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C


By Ankita Rao

August 16th, 2012, 2:49 PM

When it comes to preventive screenings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants baby boomers to add one more item to the list.

The CDC is calling for all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 to be tested for the Hepatitis C virus as part of expanded recommendations to limit related illnesses and deaths that were released today.

Hepatitis C currently affects more than 3.2 million Americans and is the leading cause of liver transplants and liver cancer in the country. Baby boomers are by far the most vulnerable population, with more than 75 percent of infections occurring within the group, according to a statement.

Since the virus is transmitted through blood, people at risk include those exposed to intravenous drugs, shared needles, blood transfusions and transplants, and unprotected sexual activity. Previous CDC guidelines were focused on identifying those at risk, rather than increasing overall screening.

“It has been overlooked – and I think that the evidence is in the individuals with unrecognized cases,” said Dr. Andrew Talal, a physician at Weill Cornell Medical Center, researcher at the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, and an external advisor for the agency’s recommendations.

Among the reasons boomers find themselves at higher risk is the fact they came of age during an era marked by experimental drug use. Many are reluctant to divulge past drug experiences because of the stigma. But it’s not just this factor that’s in play — the protocol for blood transfusions and transplants has changed and improved over time, so those who treated in previous years had higher exposure to infection.

Because approximately 80 percent of people with the virus do not exhibit any immediate symptoms, many are not tested for years. But the majority of people affected develop chronic diseases like cirrhosis, according to the World Health Organization –- conditions that the CDC said could be prevented with screening and treatment.

“The earlier the treatment is provided, the more effective it will be,” said Dr. John Ward, director of the division of viral hepatitis at the CDC, in a teleconference on Thursday.

Ward said one-time testing could identify an additional 800,000 people infected with Hepatitis C, and when followed by treatment, could prevent more than 120,000 deaths.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said testing for Hepatitis C is generally available in primary care clinics, and is usually covered under routine prevention screenings at little extra cost to the public. The agency will continue to promote its recommendations in the “Know More Hepatitis” campaign.

English: Entrance to the headquarters of the C...

English: Entrance to the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Español: La entrada de la sede de los Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anxiety Index: Survey Examines Baby Boomers’ Concerns About Medicare


Topics: Health Costs, Aging, Medicare, Politics

Aug 10, 2012

The AARP found that health expenses ranked fourth on the list of concerns.

Los Angeles Times: High Anxiety: Half Of Baby Boomers Doubt They Will Ever Retire
Worries about health care, inflation, taxes, nest eggs and more have boomers scoring a 70% on AARP’s anxiety index, compared to 59% of younger voters and 46% of people ages 65 or older (Hsu, 8/9).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Survey: Baby Boomers Worry About Medicare’s Future, Want More Detail From Candidates
The organization asked registered voters, including an oversample of people age 50-plus, about their five top financial concerns to measure what they call an ‘Anxiety Index.’ Health expenses ranked fourth on the list of concerns after rising prices, taxes and financial security in retirement (Rao, 8/9).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.