Canadian researchers have determined the peak of the hepatitis C epidemic in North America occurred about 15 years earlier than previously believed, suggesting it wasn’t youthful indiscretions that put baby boomers at a high risk for the disease.
And that means, say researchers, that all those who belong to the post-Second World War generation should be screened for the potentially deadly infection, which can take up to 50 years to manifest symptoms.
An estimated 300,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis C, with baby boomers — the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — making up about 75 per cent of cases.
Over time, hepatitis C can severely scar the liver, leading to cirrhosis, and is a known cause of liver cancer as well as liver failure.
It was long thought that boomers who were infected with the blood-borne virus likely contracted the disease in their late teens or early 20s, due to such risky behaviours as IV drug use or sexual experimentation.
But a study by B.C. researchers found the peak of the hepatitis C epidemic occurred about 1950, when many baby boomers were young children, and had plateaued by 1960 — well before the zenith of injection drug use at the end of that decade.
The oldest of the baby boomers were just 5 years old at the peak of the epidemic, the researchers say.
“The spread of hepatitis C in North America occurred at least 15 years earlier than it was suspected before, and if that is the case, the baby boomer epidemic ... cannot be explained by behavioural indiscretions on the part of the baby boomers,” said co-investigator Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
"But a study by B.C. researchers found the peak of the hepatitis C epidemic occurred about 1950, when many baby boomers were young children, and had plateaued by 1960 — well before the zenith of injection drug use at the end of that decade."
Unless the Hep C has really fugged up my mind, my earliest memory of being vaccinated at primary school (1960 onwards), was being lined up and stuck with a huge needle that was sterilised over a candle and reused. When this finished we all walked back to class though some got to feeling sick and had to sit down.
I suspect kids that age were not big IV drug users so I don't imply that Hep C could have been transmitted that way. Maybe those that think people with HCV all brought it on themselves because of some alleged 'risky' behaviours, should focus on the real issue - getting everyone cured.
GT3a 1990 Failed Inter 1998, comb in 2000. HCC 2012
Started 24/52 Sof/Dac 27th October 2015.
1. Bloods 2 October 2015: AST - 165 (20-40), ALT - 265 (5-40), GGT 189 (5-50)
2, Bloods 20 November 2015: ALT etc normal; VL 19
3. Bloods 8 January 2016: AST - 40, ALT - 59, GGT 48 VL RNA UND
4. EOT 12 April 2016 - blood tests: all is well, CT scan: okay
5. AFP 11 June 2016: 4 ref< 11
6. VL July 2016: DET
7. Oct16 start treat - June17 UND
8. Jun 18, lfts okay, platelets a bit low.