Growth in Incidence of Hepatitis C Diagnoses in the US and Mortality Among HCV-Infected Persons
"After receiving reports of cases of acute hepatitis C ranging from 781-877 during the years 2006–2010, reported cases of acute HCV infection increased more than 2.5 times from 2010–2014. Cases of acute HCV infection rose annually, from 850 in 2010 to 1,232 in 2011, 1,778 in 2012, 2,138 in 2013, and 2,194 in 2014. The increase from 2010–2014 is thought to reflect both true increases in incidence and, to a lesser extent, improved case ascertainment. Based on new epidemiologic studies, at least 4.6 million persons are HCV-antibody positive and approximately 3.5 million are currently infected with HCV (13). New cases of HCV infection are predominately among young persons who are white, live in non-urban areas (particularly in Eastern and Midwestern states), have a history of injection-drug use, and previously used opioid agonists such as oxycodone (14). Improved case ascertainment by Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, which were funded by CDC to conduct enhanced surveillance, partially explains the increased incidence of acute HCV infection in these states. In other locations where the number of cases has increased markedly (e.g., Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), increases have occurred without any federal support for investigation or follow-up, reflecting overall increases in incidence (15, 16). After adjusting for under-ascertainment and under-reporting (2), an estimated 30,500 new HCV infections occurred in 2014.
"Mortality among HCV-infected persons — primarily adults aged 55–64 years — is increasing (17, 18). For the first time in the United States (17), in 2007 the number of HCV-related deaths (n=15,106) exceeded the number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths (n=12,734) (17) and has since continued to increase. The number of HCV-related deaths rose to 19,659 in 2014 and more than one-half of deaths occurred among persons aged 55-64 years. A key public health challenge is to increase the proportion of persons tested, and of those who are currently infected, increase the proportion referred for care and treatment (10, 11). To address this challenge the USPSTF joined with CDC in 2013 to recommend one-time testing for HCV infection among adults born during 1945–1965 (19)."