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Kentucky Looking for Ways to Halt the Increasing Spread of Hep C

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Kentucky is taking steps to counteract one of the fastest growing hepatitis C infection rates in the nation.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can lead to liver infection if untreated. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

It’s most commonly spread when people share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.

A law that went into effect July 1 made Kentucky the first state to require health care providers to test pregnant women for the virus.

Anita Owens, director of nursing with the Green River District Health Department, told the Messenger-Inquirer that many people who are infected with hepatitis C don’t realize it, and continue to engage in dangerous behavior that spreads to virus to others.

Treating hepatitis C used to be a difficult process that lasted nearly a year and had multiple side effects, but officials say it’s now easily curable and relatively inexpensive to treat.

The University of Louisville is offering free hep C screenings at 18 locations in and around the city on July 28, which is World Hepatitis Day.

© 2018 WKU Public Radio

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