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U.S. News

Hepatitis C Spikes on Cape Cod, Mass.

April 10, 2013

According to surveillance by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, chronic hepatitis C among young people is increasing in Barnstable County and in many other counties in the state, including Suffolk County, which includes Boston. In 2010, Suffolk County recorded 27 confirmed cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in individuals ages 15 to 25 years in Barnstable County. That corresponds to a rate of 138.75 cases per 100,000 people, the highest incidence rate for that age group in the state. The other county that came close was Berkshire County, with a rate of 134.29 per 100,000 people. Rates at Cape Cod were very high, but the Department of Public Health state that the youth rates are climbing across the state. This increase in HCV among young people is attributed to sharing syringes for injection drug sue. Preliminary figures for 2011 show 32 probable cases of HCV among Cape and Islands residents ages 15 to 25 years. Probable cases are those that tested positive for antibodies. Confirmed results require further positive tests, which are not yet ready.

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