There are new hopes for youth infected with the hepatitis C virus.
A new cure for hepatitis C in children and adolescents is on the way, promising to help some of the silent victims of a nationwide heroin epidemic.
A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center doctor who helped lead the research for the drug combination says the new medication regiment brings hope for all children with the disease.
“Years ago, I told my patients’ parents that, in your child’s lifetime, we’re going to have a cure for this,” said Dr. William Balistreri, lead author of the study and medical director emeritus for Cincinnati Children’s Pediatric Liver Care Center. Before this, he said, “there wasn’t anything that was really reliable.”
“This gives hope,” he said.
That’s exactly what it’s done for Kristin “Kaylee” Ferrell, 17, of Lexington. As a child born with hepatitis C, she’s been in Balistreri’s care since she was about 5.
“He never gives up,” she said of Balistreri, who is recognized worldwide as an expert on pediatric liver and gastroenterology disease.
Kaylee is among children who acquired the virus that attacks the liver pre-birth, from her mother, who was then addicted to drugs. Cincinnati Children’s, along with other hospitals around the country, has seen a huge rise in hepatitis C in children.
Since 2009, Cincinnati Children’s has seen a 450 percent rise in hepatitis C cases among children and adolescents, Balistreri said.
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