The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASA) does not skimp on the means, recommending that all persons born between 1945 and 1975 be screened to determine if they are carriers of chronic hepatitis C.
In its 2018 Guidelines for the Management of this Liver Disease published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, CASA explains that chronic hepatitis C is an underdiagnosed and treated disease, and that “cohort screening of birth would be beneficial to the health of the population.
Applying this recommendation would also be cost-effective for Canada, according to the ACEF.
“Although the overall prevalence of chronic hepatitis C is decreasing, the complications of the disease are increasing due to the aging of the infected population and the progression of liver fibrosis,” reads the document. The modeling data suggest that if nothing is done to change the current situation, cases of decompensated cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma [liver cancer] and liver-related mortality will increase by 80%, 205% and 160% respectively. ‘here 2035 compared to 2013 levels.’
According to the authors of the guidelines of the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver, “the birth cohort of 1945-1975 has the highest prevalence of chronic infection with chronic hepatitis C” and “up to 70% of this group has not been tested for this disease.
Screening in this group of baby boomers is important, according to the Association, given the asymptomatic nature of the infection and its slow progression.
ACEF also recommends screening for risk factors, such as testing current or former drug users, transfusion recipients, blood products or organ transplants. Canada prior to 1992, current or former inmates, people born in countries where hepatitis C is prevalent and people infected with HIV.
The Association recommends that all patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C infection “should be considered as candidates for antiviral therapy,” a treatment that has evolved significantly in recent years and is proven, according to her.
It is estimated that in 2013, 252,000 Canadians were living with chronic hepatitis C. This virus is spread by direct contact between the blood of an infected person and that of another person.