NPR, May 11, 2017
Colin Dwyer


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The number of new Hepatitis C cases leaped nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the CDC points to the likely culprit behind the spike in cases of the infectious disease: the use of heroin and other injection drugs.

And despite the existence of therapies that can cure more than 90 percent of infections, the organization says the disease remains a deadly threat. In 2013, for instance, the CDC says some 19,000 people died of their infections.

"Hepatitis C is associated with more deaths in the United States than 60 other infectious diseases reported to CDC combined," the researchers write.

States that have struggled most with the unfolding opioid crisis also tended to have worst rates of new Hepatitis C infections. All of the seven states that have rates of infection at least twice the national average — Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and West Virginia — have seen a statistically significant increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years, as well.

The CDC evinces little doubt that statistics like these are intimately related. [...]

addiction infectious diseases public health