CDC News: Hepatitis C Kills More Americans Than Any Other Infectious Disease
Hepatitis C-related deaths are at an all-time high, according to new preliminary surveillance data released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a separate CDC study published online today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases finds that more Americans now die as a result of hepatitis C infection than from 60 other infectious diseases reported to the CDC – including HIV, tuberculosis and pneumococcal disease – combined.
While most people who die due to hepatitis C have been living with the infection for many years – often unknowingly – new hepatitis C infections are also on the rise, mainly among young people who inject drugs.
Key findings include:
- In 2014, there were 19,659 deaths associated with hepatitis C. This was an increase of 78% from 2003 (11,051 deaths).
- Deaths associated with hepatitis C occurred mainly among baby boomers – particularly among individuals between the ages of 55 to 64.
- New cases of hepatitis C infection more than doubled since 2010, increasing to 2,194 in 2014.
- New hepatitis C cases occurred mainly among young, white people who inject drugs in rural and suburban areas of the Midwest and Eastern United States.
These dramatic increases highlight the need for improved prevention, testing, and linkage to care.