Doctors say baby boomers are at higher risk for Hepatitis C - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Doctors say baby boomers are at higher risk for Hepatitis C

(Source: NBC News File Video) (Source: NBC News File Video)

Approximately 3.5 million people are infected with Hepatitis C, and 75 percent of them are baby boomers, people born 1946 and 1964.

"That's first because we didn't know about the virus in early years and, unfortunately, many people in that age category did things in their youth that might have led to getting infected," confirmed Chief Medical Director Dr. Stephen Nicholas.

Hepatitis C was transmitted predominantly through blood products, transfusions, surgeries, dental work and tattooing. These days, those who are infected are infected through drug use. And with the heroin epidemic, intravenous drug users are at high risk.

The news is not all bad, however. Treatment comes with a high success rate.

“We have drugs now that are oral agents," Stephens said. "We call them the DAAs, Direct Acting Anti-Virals, and they have a 95 to 99 percent cure rate." 

Hep C is hard to diagnose because most people don't have symptoms, which tend to be vague. fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain. If you've had the condition for years, the damage is done.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News/NBC. All rights reserved. 

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