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Advocates push need for hepatitis C screening

Hepatitis C screening is the essential first step in treating this disease.

At first, Steve Pollard felt like he just had a touch of the flu. Today, seven years and two liver transplants later, the Ottawa man is a vocal advocate for the need for hepatitis C screening.

“If you don’t get tested, you don’t know your status. They can’t fix you,” said Pollard, 48.

Pollard was living “a decent life” in 2009 when he first fell ill — a family man who drank little and didn’t have the “high-risk lifestyle” often associated with the disease. But he did have one risk factor that has been identified as the most common element among the estimated 300,000 Canadians infected by hepatitis C: The year on his birth certificate.

Hepatitis C affects between 0.5 per cent and one per cent of the Canadian population, and the majority of those infected were born between 1945 and 1975, said Dr. Morris Sherman, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation.

Some may have been infected by shared needles in the ’60s “hippie” age, but the most likely cause was improperly sterilized medical equipment back when glass syringes were just boiled in water between uses.

Some countries had particularly high infection rates, such as Italy, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Somalia, Vietnam and China, he said, often related to vaccination procedures.

“Worldwide, more people were probably infected through medical procedures than any other form of transmission.”

Read Full Article: Advocates push need for hepatitis C screening | Ottawa Citizen

Read Full Article: Advocates push need for hepatitis C screening | Ottawa Citizen

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