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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

  


 

Hepatitis C Haunts Baby Boomers

Youthful mistakes may mean adult problems

It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but those intravenous drugs that some baby boomers played around with in the '60s and '70s could come back to haunt them.

According to an article in the Seattle Times, more and more people are discovering that they have hepatitis C. In some cases, they got the disease from shared needles. In other cases, blood transfusions are the culprit. In still other cases, the cause is unknown. But researchers say hepatitis C can lurk for decades, only to show up in the form of liver disease much later.

Hepatitis C can kill you, but usually it doesn't. It is often discovered during a routine check up and blood test. Sometimes, it shows up as the cause of chronic fatigue. But symptoms often don't show up until the liver has lost more than 60 percent of its functioning, the article says. About 12,000 Americans die of hepatitis C each year, according to figures from the American Liver Foundation. Scientists are trying to find a vaccine to prevent it, and they say treatments are improving.

Researchers say there is a lot more work that must be done relating to hepatitis C. They are not sure, for example, why it becomes a chronic condition in some patients and not in others. They also are looking into whether the damage is caused by the virus itself or by the body's immune system responding to it, the article says.