Report: Hepatitis C Rates on the Rise Among Reproductive-aged Women
The CDC reports the number of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases reported in reproductive-aged women in the United States has increased substantially in recent years.1
The incidence of HCV infection has increased among young people who inject drugs, about half of whom are women of reproductive age, the data indicate. This raises concerns about the heightened risk of HCV transmission from pregnant women to their infants.
To assess the extent of HCV infection in reproductive-aged and pregnant women, as well as their infants, researchers studied the CDC’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and the Quest Diagnostics Health Trends database, two of the largest population data sets available in the United States.
According to the analysis, HCV cases doubled among reproductive-aged women between 2006 and 2014, rising from 15,550 to 31,039. By applying the Quest HCV infection rate among pregnant women to annual live births, about 29,000 HCV-infected women give birth each year, the analysis indicates. This finding translates into 1,700 infants acquiring HCV each year; however, only 200 childhood cases are reported to the NNDSS each year, suggesting that cases are underreported.
Providers should incorporate these findings in developing HCV screening programs for pregnant women, researchers noted.
- Ly KN, Jiles RB, Teshale EH, et al. Hepatitis C virus infection among reproductive-aged women and children in the United States, 2006 to 2014. Ann Intern Med 2017; doi: 10.7326/M16-2350. [Epub ahead of print].
The incidence of hepatitis C virus infection has increased among young people who inject drugs, about half of whom are women of reproductive age, according to the CDC.
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