Mass General Research Study Suggests that Cases of Hepatitis C May be Higher Than Reported

A new research study conducted by investigators from Mass General and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health suggests that the number of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases in the United States may actually be higher than reported, in the context of an enlarging opioid use epidemic.

This gap in reporting may be due to fragmented care available to those at highest risk, such as intravenous drug users, the lack of specific symptoms, lack of a single diagnostic test, and restrictive surveillance definitions that qualify for reporting to the national level.

Dr. Arthur Kim of the Mass General Division of Infectious Diseases and senior author of the paper says, “Overall, I would argue that we should devote more resources to surveillance, so that we can better track cases as part of a comprehensive effort to prevent HCV and HIV infection in people who inject drugs. Otherwise the costs – both personal and financial – of allowing these infections to spread and treating them in the future will be quite high.”

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