Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you’re one of the millions of baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes you should get a blood test to see if you are infected with Hepatitis C.
“The CDC views hepatitis C as an unrecognized health crisis for the country, and we believe the time is now for a bold response,” said Dr. John W. Ward, the CDC’s hepatitis chief.
The CDC said baby boomers account for 2 million of the 3.2 million Americans that currently have Hepatitis C. CDC officials said by having boomers go through testing could get more than 800,000 patients treatment and could save more than 120,000 lives.
According to the CDC, baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults, but most don’t have any idea they have it because the disease can damage the liver for years with no noticeable symptoms.
“Identifying these hidden infections early will allow more baby boomers to receive care and treatment, before they develop life-threatening liver disease,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and Tuberculosis Prevention.
Current CDC guidelines call for testing only people with known risk factors for hepatitis C. But, the CDC wants to implement guidelines calling for all baby boomers to get tested for the liver disease.
The CDC will publish draft recommendations for the program and will allow the public to comment from May 22 to June 8.