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Task force takes aim at rise of hep C

States work to fight the rise of hepatitis C infections.

The task force Gov. Charlie Baker formed last year to tackle the state’s opioid problem is reassembling next week for the first time in 15 months to again confront an epidemic whose death toll has yet to slow and, data show, is rooting itself in another health crisis around hepatitis C.

The meeting of Baker’s opioid working group, set for Thursday, will mark its first since it released a 47-page report and dozens of recommendations in June 2015 designed to help stem the rise of the region’s heroin epidemic.

Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, said the meeting is intended to address “new areas of focus,” including the rise in hepatitis C cases, which went unaddressed in the group’s initial report but experts say is largely tied to the heroin scourge.

The Herald reported yesterday that the number of acute hepatitis C cases statewide has spiked nearly 80 percent in two years, and that the 311 cases public health officials identified in 2015 are likely only a fraction of the actual count.

“Here where we are a year and a few months later. Where are the areas that we need to focus more? I think hep C is going to one of those,” Sudders said after an event at Massachusetts General Hospital, which kicked off a month-long set of events focused on addiction recovery. “The governor’s working group was a blueprint. … I think it’s important to come back and say, ‘Where do we need to focus?’ ”

Read Full Article: Task force takes aim at rise of hep C | Boston Herald

Read Full Article: Task force takes aim at rise of hep C | Boston Herald

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