Bibbins-Domingo said the task force took less a stringent stance on testing for all baby boomers because many people with hepatitis C will live for a long time without progressive disease, and current treatments don't help everyone. "We have effective treatments, but not everybody who has hepatitis C will go on to develop liver failure or liver cancer," she said. "We are in an era where treatments are rapidly evolving, and recommendations may change as treatments get better."
One liver disease expert weighed in on screening for the 47-to-67 age group.
Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System, in Manhasset, N.Y, said baby boomers should get screened for hepatitis C. "I think the guidelines should have been a little stronger for people born from 1945 to 1965," he said.
"The current therapies have cure rates of 70 to 75 percent," Bernstein said. "In a couple of years, newer therapies may be available which will have much higher cure rates but this is [already] very high."
Get screened, he advised. "Hepatitis C is the most common reason for a liver transplant and development of liver cancer, but if you catch it, you can halt the progression of disease and cure it."
The task force guidelines are now open for a period of public comment.
Get the facts about hepatitis C at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, M.D., Ph.D. associate professor, medicine, and epidemiology and biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco;
David Bernstein, M.D., chief, hepatology, North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System, Manhasset, N.Y.; Nov. 27, 2012, report, "Screening for Hepatitis C Virus
Infection in Adults: A S
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