Hepatitis C Is on the Rise
Hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can go undetected for decades while slowly destroying the liver, has become one of the nation's top health-care concerns -- both in terms of loss of life and stress on the economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 4 million people are infected with the virus. Like the AIDS virus, hepatitis C is often transmitted through the sharing of intravenous needles, needle sticks from an infected person while on the job. Other ways it has been transmitted: through a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992, and through a product used for blood clotting problems produced before 1987. The virus can be spread by sexual intercourse, but this does not occur very often.