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Hepatitis C Increased Risk of Dying Prematurely

February 27, 2014

This article was reported by Healio.

Healio reported on a study that concluded that individuals with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection had a higher risk of dying and of dying prematurely compared with the general population. Researchers analyzed New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene surveillance and mortality data from 2000 to 2010, including factors associated with mortality and causes of mortality among individuals with HCV.

Results show that from 2000 to 2010, the department recorded 128,444 HCV infections, which included 18,291 individuals with HIV coinfection. Of the patients with HCV only, 13,307 died between 2000 and 2011, and 8,525 of them died prematurely; 5,475 persons with HIV/HCV coinfection died during this time, and 94 percent of them died prematurely. Of the general public, 619,254 adults who were uninfected with either of the two diseases died, and 25.3 percent of them died prematurely. Median age of death for individuals with HCV only was 60 years, compared with 78 years for individuals without any infection, and 52 years for adults with HIV/HCV coinfection.

Individuals with HCV only had a higher probability of dying from liver cancer, drug-related causes, or cirrhosis compared with those without HCV; those with the HIV/HCV coinfection also had a higher probability of dying from liver cancer or drug-related causes. Of the coinfected patients, 53.6 percent died of HIV/AIDS-related causes.

The researchers emphasized the value of identifying and treating HCV infection, reducing new infections, and preventing drug-related deaths using harm reduction methods to decrease the number of premature deaths and HCV treatment costs.

The full report, "Deaths Among People with Hepatitis C in New York City, 2000-2011," was published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (2014; doi:10.1093/cid/ciu075).

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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