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Health Officials Warn Of Hepatitis “Epidemic”

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 BOSTON (AP) – Health officials are warning Massachusetts is facing an “epidemic” of Hepatitis C virus infections among adolescents and young adults, particularly those who are injection drug users.
 
The cases were reported from all areas of the state, occurred predominantly among non-Hispanic whites, and were equally distributed among males and females.
 
The increase came as overall Hepatitis C infections have dropped or leveled off according to the study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
From 2002 to 2009, rates of newly reported Hepatitis C infections, confirmed and probable, among those aged 15 to 24 increased from 65 per 100,000 individuals to 113 per 100,000 individuals.
 
State epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMaria said the spike in Hepatitis C infections could be related to a rise in heroin use in Massachusetts.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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