Viral Hepatitis C, 2011
In 2011, 18 cases of symptomatic acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (0.3 per 100,000) were reported. In addition to the 18 cases, 4 individuals with asymptomatic, laboratory-confirmed acute HCV infection were reported.
Eleven (61%) cases resided in Greater Minnesota. The median age of all cases was 28 years (range, 20 to 53 years). Nine (50%) cases were male. Eleven (61%) were white, 3 (17%) were American Indian, 2 (11%) were of other race, and 1 (1%) was black; race was unknown for 1 (1%) case.
We received 1,793 reports of newly identified anti-HCV positive persons in 2011, the vast majority of whom are chronically infected. A total of 37,303 persons are assumed to be alive and living in Minnesota with past or present HCV infection. The median age of these cases is 55. Because most cases are asymptomatic, medical providers are encouraged to consider each patient’s risk for HCV infection to determine the need for testing. Patients for whom testing is indicated include: persons with past or present injection drug use; recipients of transfusions or organ transplants before July 1992; recipients of clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987; persons on chronic hemodialysis; persons with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels; healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV-positive blood; and children born to HCV-positive women. Infants born to HCV-infected mothers should be tested at 12 to 18 months of age, as earlier testing tends to reflect maternal antibody status. Persons who test positive for HCV should be screened for susceptibility to hepatitis A and B virus infections and immunized appropriately.
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