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We are pleased to bring you the 11th edition of Fast Facts. This is a brief report on
local data that we believe you will find useful in both understanding and improving the
health of our community. Our goal is to keep it brief and instructive and to provide
opportunities for all persons to positively impact the issue.  


This past Sunday (July 28) was World Hepatitis Day and so our topic this time is Hepatitis. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, board members and others in the community.



"Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A gets the most notoriety in the media as it has the potential to cause outbreaks because of the way it is transmitted, but does not usually cause long term complications. But Hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation.  

Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through multiple ways. Before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992, Hepatitis C was spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. People with clotting problems who took blood products prior to 1987 were also exposed to Hepatitis C. Sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs was and is a very efficient way to transmit the virus, even if it was done a few times. People have also become infected with the Hepatitis C virus from body piercing or tattoos that were given in prisons, at home or in other unlicensed facilities.


Although uncommon, outbreaks of Hepatitis C have occurred from blood contamination in health care settings. In rare cases, Hepatitis C may be sexually transmitted. Babies born to mothers with Hepatitis C can get the infection during childbirth. Some people do not know how or when they became infected.

Unfortunately, symptoms of chronic Hepatitis C can take up to 30 years to develop and are often  a sign of advanced liver disease. Because there can be many years between initial infection and the long term complications, many people are not aware that they have the disease. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected. We also know that more than 75 percent of adults infected are known as baby boomers, people born from 1945 through 1965. Again, most people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected. For that reason, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently recommended that all baby boomers be tested for Hepatitis C in addition to other high risk populations.

Local Data



 Hepatitis Chart



Of every 100 people infected with the Hepatitis C virus, about:

  • 75-85 people will develop chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCv) infection; of those;
  • 60-70 people will go on to develop chronic liver disease;
  • 5-20 people will go on to develop cirrhosis over a period of 20-30 years; and
  • 1-5 people will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Today, the total cost is estimated at $6.5 ($4.3-$8.4) billion and it will peak in 2024 at $9.1 ($6.4-$13.3) billion. The lifetime cost of an individual infected with HCv in 2011 was estimated at $64,490. However, this cost is significantly higher among individuals with a longer life expectancy.

What You Can Do


 As a health care provider:  

  • Offer testing to at-risk patients, including those of the baby boomer generation.
  • Report cases of Hepatitis (A, B & C) to the local health department.

As a patient:     

  • Talk to your doctor about being tested for Hepatitis C if you were born from 1945 through 1965.

  • If you do have Hepatitis C, avoid alcohol and marijuana and maintain a healthy weight.

As a funder or public official:     

  • Provide funding, through the Healthy Indiana Plan and Medicaid, to treat adults with Hepatitis C, which in many cases can be cured to minimize long-term costs.


  • The Department of Health offers Hepatitis A, B, and C testing for those that are considered at risk. We charge a $9.00 fee for the blood draw for Hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis A testing is available for $29.84. Results are typically available within 2 weeks. Please contact the Medical Annex at (260) 449-7504 to determine if you would benefit from hepatitis testing. Prices are subject to change. 
  •  AIDS Task Force offers hepatitis education and awareness through workshops and seminars to educate target populations, business and industry. Call (260) 744-1144 or visit
  • Quick Facts on Hepatitis C
  • CDC Viral Hepatitis Page


Fast Facts is a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and
United Way of Allen County 2-1-1
  Contact Deborah McMahan, MD or John Silcox
 c/o Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health