Hep C by the numbers

Butte County’s HCV stats

Butte County Public Health recently wrapped up a yearlong program that identified individuals with hepatitis C living in drug-treatment and homeless facilities, and numbers show the infection rate is much higher than that of the general population, according to a BCPH press release.

Approximately 7.5 percent of the individuals tested during the program—dubbed Spread the Word, Not the Virus—were positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), said Ellen Michels, the BCPH educator who coordinated the program. An additional 7 percent of people entering these high-HCV-risk-populated facilities already tested positive for HCV before the program began, bringing the total infected to 14.5 percent. In the general population, an estimated 2 percent of individuals are infected with the virus.

HCV is a blood-borne virus that causes cirrhosis of the liver and potentially cancer. It is transmitted through contact with someone else’s blood.

Those interested in providing hep C education and testing at their facility should contact Michels at 538-7044 or <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,101,109,105,99,104,101,108,115,64,98,117,116,116,101,99,111,117,110,116,121,46,110,101,116,34,62,101,109,105,99,104,101,108,115,64,98,117,116,116,101,99,111,117,110,116,121,46,110,101,116,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.