The state of Virginia is facing a wave of hepatitis C infections related to drug use.
As the state lingers in the grip of its ongoing opioid epidemic, Virginia’s top health official is warning that the state soon may also be dealing with skyrocketing rates of hepatitis C and HIV.
During a Virginia Board of Health meeting Thursday, the state health commissioner, Dr. Marissa Levine, said that as opioid use continues, the two deadly infections “will rear their ugly heads.”
“As I tell our legislators and other leaders, I think we have a tidal wave of hepatitis C coming,” she told the board.
According to a Virginia Department of Health report, cases of hepatitis C — an infection that can lead to liver disease — are rising in the state, the primary risk for which is injection drug use.
In 2014, more than 6,600 cases of hepatitis C were reported to the department. But last year, more than 8,000 cases were reported.
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