From the Journals

Baby boomers account for more than 74% of chronic HCV cases



The overall prevalence of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States was 1.19%, giving an estimate of 2,347,852 infected adults. Baby boomers had the highest prevalence at 2.23%, accounting for more than 74% of all chronic HCV cases, according to the results of a database analysis done by Kevin J. Moore, MD, of the University of Miami and his colleagues.

A binder label reads "Diagnosis: hepatitis" ©vchal/Thinkstock

In the analysis, published in the Journal of Infection and Public Health, the researchers assessed data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the years 1999-2012. They separated three age categories: baby boomers (BB), younger than BB (YG), and older than BB (OG). BBs showed an HCV prevalence over four times higher than YG or OG. BBs also had more significant predictors of positive HCV status than YGs or OGs.

In addition to the overall difference in incidence of HCV infection in boomers and nonboomers, they found that significant predictors of chronic HCV positivity among BBs were being male or non-Hispanic black, having a positive blood transfusion history, being a current or former smoker, and living below the poverty line.

The most significant risk factor for HCV positivity differed across age groups – being a current smoker in YG and BB and being non-Hispanic black in OG, the researchers noted.

“These results show that HCV infection continues to be a significant public health issue and warrants further attention given the aging BB population. Future studies should seek to further identify age-specific risk factors for HCV infection to optimize HCV screening and prevention programs through public health interventions,” the researchers concluded.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Moore KJ et al. J Infect Public Health. 2019 Jan-Feb;12(1):32-6.

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