Maine is undergoing its worst acute hepatitis C outbreak since it
began recording cases in the 1990s. Reported cases of the disease have
soared since 2013, corresponding with skyrocketing heroin use, and are
more than triple the national average.
The heroin epidemic is causing many undesirable ripple effects in
Maine, public health advocates say, including the spread of infectious
diseases such as hepatitis C.
Acute cases – a six-month infection where symptoms manifest
themselves – more than tripled from 2013 to 2014, from nine to 31,
according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, chronic hepatitis C – long-term infections that can
sometimes last a lifetime – increased 25 percent, from 1,142 cases in
2010 to 1,425 in 2014.
Labels: hepatitis C on the rise, heroin epidemic, Maine