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Hepatitis C: The Country’s Most Deadly Infectious Disease

Hepatitis C now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC reported more than 19,000 Hepatitis C-related deaths in 2014. In 2013, Hepatitis C-related deaths surpassed the number of combined deaths from 60 other infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

This blood-borne infection can lead to liver disease or liver failure. It’s primarily contracted through infected blood, and you may be at an increased risk of Hepatitis C if you have had:

  • A blood transfusion before 1992
  • Used blood-clotting products before 1987
  • Used illicit drugs with shared needles

The disorder most frequently affects Baby Boomers, and the CDC recommends that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 be screened. Most Americans with Hepatitis C were born in that time range.

About 3.5 million Americans live with Hepatitis C — and the CDC estimates nearly half are unaware of their infection due to under-screening.

New, highly effective treatments can cure the vast majority of Hepatitis C infections in a matter of months, according to the CDC.

Learn more about Hepatitis C warning signs, treatment, and symptoms. For additional information, schedule your appointment with UPMC.