-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Enhanced surveillance of
acute hepatitis C infections in the United States offers more
timely and complete case reporting that provides greater benefits
to public health, a new study concludes.
Each year in the United States, HCV infection affects nearly 4
million people and causes about 12,000 deaths, and the U.S.
Institute of Medicine recently recommended a comprehensive
evaluation of the nation's hepatitis B and C surveillance
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) compared 2008 data on acute hepatitis C (HCV)
collected from two sources: the National Notifiable Diseases
Surveillance System (the CDC's nationwide system for disease
reporting) and the Emerging Infections Program (EIP), a CDC-funded
network of health departments in selected states that gathers
detailed information meant to improve public health responses to
emerging infectious diseases.
EIP sites reported 26 (22 percent ) more acute HCV cases than
the 94 cases reported by NNDSS. Information on race and major HCV
risk factors was absent from 22 percent and 60 percent of NNDSS
reports, respectively, compared with 8 percent and 25 percent of
EIP reports, respectively.
The average length of time between diagnosis and reporting of
acute HCV cases to the state health department was 30 days (range 0
to 298 days) in NNDSS, compared with 19 days (range 0 to 350 days)
in EIP sites, the study found.
"These findings underscore that enhanced surveillance for acute hepatitis C improves the completeness and timeliness of the data," the researchers wrote.
Between 2010 and 2019, the direct medical cost of chronic HCV
infection could exceed $10.7 billion, the cost of HCV-related
premature death could be $54.2 billion, and the cost of HCV-related
disability could be $21.3 billion, according to the study.
The study appears in the latest issue of
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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