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Mississippi Baby Boomers Urged To Seek Hepatitis b and C Screenings

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 May 2014 03:00pm | comments
If you are between the ages of 50 and 70, the Mississippi department of health is urging you to get screened for Hepatitis B and C. MPB's Jeffrey Hess the disease often shows no symptoms but can do severe damage to a person's liver and other organs.
 
free Hepatitis screenings are available all month at health departments around the state in an effort to help Mississippians learn if they are infected.
 
Rates of Hepatitis B and C are especially high among people born between 19-45 and 19-65.
 
State epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs says that age group pre-dates screening and protective measures against transmission.
 
"And we know from what Mississippi statistic we have that half of everyone we know that has Hepatitis B and C is between the ages of 50 and 60," Dobbs said.
 
The virus is transmitted between people through blood or other bodily fluids such as sexual contact.
 
Infection often shows no outward symptoms but wears away at a person's liver and can lead to cirrhosis.
 
Dobbs says an increasing understanding of the virus has led to drugs that can cure nearly everyone infected.
 
"Fortunately there are going to be some new medicines available. There are some now and hopefully there will be some that are avilable this fall that can lead to greater than 90% cure rates taking a pill for about twelve weeks. So there are going to be some great cures for Hepatitis C in the near future we hope," Dobbs said.
 
However, the newest, most effective drugs can be extremely expensive with one 12-week treatment costing around 84-thousand dollars.
 
75-percent of infected Mississippians do not know they are carrying the virus.

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