Baby boomers need hepatitis C testing

All baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis C, the virus that can lead to liver disease, cancer and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One in 30 boomers is infected and most don't know -- read about that in this Sun's story on hep C.

In making the recommendation, CDC officials believe raising awareness and testing will avert more disease and deaths. It's now the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths and a leading cause of liver transplants.) About 15,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related illnesses.

"A one-time blood test for hepatitis C should be on every baby boomer's medical checklist," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, said in a statement.  "The new recommendations can protect the health of an entire generation of Americans and save thousands of lives."

The CDC has only recommended the test for those with risk factors previously, but because some people are infected for decades before they have symptoms, they no longer perceive themselves to be at risk.  But baby boomers now account for 75 percent of all U.S. adults who have the virus.

Testing this population could identify more than 800,000 more people with the virus, and up to 75 percent can effectively treated, CDC officials said.