What’s behind Hepatitis C increase in Franklin County?

GREENFIELD — As Hepatitis C rates have risen sharply in Franklin County, neighboring Hampshire County has seen a slower trend and a lower rate, tempered perhaps by prevention efforts.

Franklin County’s rate of 131 newly discovered Hepatitis C cases per 100,000 residents in 2014 was just under the statewide rate of 134, while Hampshire County trailed with a rate of 73. This is a population-adjusted measure, using numbers collected by the Mass. Department of Public Health. In simple numbers, Franklin County had 94 new cases in 2014 and Hampshire County 116.

Greenfield saw 40 newly discovered cases of the blood-borne liver disease in 2014, while its larger sister to the south saw 29. Northampton’s population of 28,549 at the last census outnumbered Greenfield 3 to 2.

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