Results from a survey from the Canadian Liver Foundation show a large number of Canadians may be living with undiagnosed hepatitis C virus.
Those born between 1945 and 1975 represent the greatest number of Canadians with HCV. However, according to the survey, more than 80% of Canadians born within that timeframe were unaware of their increased risk and only 25% had been tested. The increase in risk is thought to correlate with the increased use of syringes and contaminated blood products following World War II.
“Unfortunately, the vast majority of people still have a very limited understanding of hepatitis C, and don’t realize that they could be at risk – particularly those born between 1945-75, who are up to five times more likely to have the disease,” Morris Sherman, MD, chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation, said in a press release.
The Canadian Liver Foundation urges those born within the age bracket to be tested, along with anyone who has relocated to Canada from a country where the disease is more prominent. These high-risk groups can then begin to receive treatments, the newest of which are relatively quick and covered by all provincial health care plans.
“It is critical that members of high-risk groups understand their increased likelihood of having hepatitis C, and get tested without delay so they can be connected with a physician to discuss treatment options if needed,” Sherman said.