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Study: Dramatic rise in hepatitis C-related deaths in the United States
Date:3/24/2008

Hepatitis C-related deaths in the United States increased by 123 percent from 1995 through 2004, the most recent year for which data are available. Mortality rates peaked in 2002, then declined slightly overall, while continuing to rise among people 55 to 64 years old. These findings appear in the April issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, affecting about 1.3 percent of the population. Up to one-in-five sufferers develop liver cirrhosis, and up to one-in-20 develop liver cancer. HCV is the top reason for liver transplantation, and the 16th leading cause of premature death in the country. Recent evidence has suggested that disease burden and mortality from chronic HCV infection may increase in the coming years, as the number of persons with longstanding infections continues to rise.

To update estimates of trends and demographics of hepatitis C-related mortality in the U.S., a team of researchers led by Matthew Wise of UCLA and including researchers from the CDC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health analyzed mortality rates derived from U.S. Census and multiple-cause-of-death data from 1995-2004. They included 56,409 HCV related deaths, including those for which the disease was the underlying cause; those for which chronic liver disease was the underlying cause and hepatitis C was a contributing cause; and those for which HIV was the underlying cause and chronic liver disease and hepatitis C were contributing causes.

During the study period, HCV-related mortality rates increased from 1.09 deaths per 100,000 persons in 1995 to 2.57 per 100,000 in 2002, before declining slightly to 2.44 per 100,000 in 2004. Average annual increases were
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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Source:Eurekalert

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