Hep C Rates in Appalachia Triple Due to Opioid Epidemic

Opioid Epidemic

Appalachia is seeing an increase in Hepatitis C cases due to the prevalence of opiate abuse. CNN notes that the “hardest hit areas in terms of new infections are parts of Appalachia and rural areas of the Midwest and New England.”

An incurable disease, Hepatitic C cause symptoms such as fever, stomach pain, jaundice, nausea and joint pain.  “Seven states — Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and West Virginia — have rates at least twice the national average,” according to CNN.

Opioids Are Increasing Disease Transmission Rates

“These new infections are most frequently among young people who transition from taking prescription pills to injecting heroin, which has become cheaper and more easily available in some cases,” said Ward. “In turn many — most, in some communities — people who inject drugs become infected with hepatitis C.”

There were “2,436 [Hepatitus C] cases in 2015, with the highest rates among young people, mainly 20- to 29-year-olds, who inject drugs,” according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC actually believes the number to be significantly higher — approximately 34,000 cases in 2015, up from just 810 new annual cases in 2010.

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Read the full article at CNN.com

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