Boomers urged to get tested for virus http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi...
Bay Area health advocates and doctors welcomed the recommendation that all Baby Boomers get tested for the liver-destroying virus hepatitis C.
The draft recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for anyone born between 1945 and 1965 to get a one-time blood test for the liver disease, believing that doing so could identify 800,000 people infected with it, prevent many cases of cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by the infection, and save more than 120,000 lives.
Hepatitis C can be spread a variety of ways, but public health authorities say the most common means of exposure for the Baby Boom generation was most likely through sharing needles to inject drugs and blood transfusions received before 1992, when widespread screening of donations began.
The CDC estimates that Baby Boomers account for 2 million of the 3.2 million Americans infected with the blood-borne virus. Federal officials say deaths from hepatitis C are on the rise, reaching more than 15,000 in 2007.
More people will die from the illness, as Baby Boomers age, if they go untested and untreated. That's because people can have the virus and not know it, said Dr. Natalie Bzowej, director of clinical viral hepatitis research at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
"It's a silent epidemic," she said.