May 18, 2016 – Screen Everyone


Anchor lead:  There’s good evidence to screen everyone for hepatitis C, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Hepatitis C, a virus that infects the liver and can cause liver failure and death, is both more common and often undetected than previously suspected, a Johns Hopkins study led by Thomas Quinn has shown. Quinn says the results of this study on about five thousand blood samples suggest a clear course of action.

Quinn: Hepatitis C is an indolent infection that may take up to a decade or two decades to do all its damage to the liver.  And yet we can cure an individual with the right drugs now for hepatitis C but they have to be screened.  So our recommendation is that everyone should be screened at least once for hepatitis C and if they’re in a risk category they should be screened more than once at least once a year.   :30

Treatment of hepatitis C carries a hefty price tag but remains less expensive than repeated hospitalizations or liver transplants, Quinn says. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.