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Hepatitis C Deaths Rising in US

Hepatitis C deaths are on the rise in the U.S., particularly among middle-aged people.

The number of deaths from hepatitis C in the U.S. is on the rise, and the increase is hitting particularly hard among middle-age people, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

The study found that the number of deaths in the U.S. from hepatitis C rose from 11,051 in 2003 to 19,368 in 2013. And baby boomers, or those ages 55 to 64, accounted for 51 percent of the deaths in 2013, according to the study, published online (March 17) in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The hepatitis C virus infects the liver cells and can lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

This rise in deaths from hepatitis C is “alarming,” said Amy Nunn an associate professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island. Nunn is currently working on a study about hepatitis C screening and treatment in Philadelphia; she was not involved in the new report from the CDC. “This is an epidemic of enormous magnitude,” she said.

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