Atlanta, GA (WIBX) – An important report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes a warning that between two and four million Americans are living life with Hepatitis C (HCV), and most do not know it.

The information comes from the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” released today.  The news that is shocking many is that those born between 1945 and 1965 account for seventy-five percent of all chronic HCV infections in the United States.

Untreated, the disease is the leading cause of cirrhosis of the liver and HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma, or cancer).  In the majority of cases, 75-85%, the disease causes inflammation that may or may not go noticed by the individual carrying the disease.  Over decades it is that chronic inflammation that causes infections and disease, and eventually death.

The causes of the increased rates among this particular age group are not fully understood. More than half have known risk factors , including blood transfusions or drug use, but close to 45% have no known sources of contracting Hepatitis C.

The report specifically states, “In addition to testing adults of all ages at risk for HCV infection, CDC recommends that:  Adults born during 1945–1965 should receive one-time testing for HCV without prior ascertainment of HCV risk.”  In a nutshell, everyone born during those years should be tested.

Call your medical provider with questions.  For more information you can visit the CDC’s website and read the “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (vol. 61 number 4).”