Hepatitis C in North Carolina: Two epidemics with one public health response.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, is most frequently transmitted through injection drug use . Although HCV infection can be acute and self-limiting, approximately 75%–85% of infected persons will develop chronic illness. Of the estimated 3.5 million persons in the United States with chronic HCV infection, approximately 75% were born during the period 1945–1965 (ie, baby boomers) [1-3]. Chronic HCV infection has been referred to as a silent epidemic. Approximately 50% of those with chronic infection are unaware of their status and do not receive recommended medical care and treatment, increasing the possibility of progression to liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death [1, 2].