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Video: New worry for baby boomers: Hepatitis C

  1. Closed captioning of: New worry for baby boomers: Hepatitis C

    >> we are back as promised with that's been branded as a silent epidemic among baby boomers . a virus a lot of people don't know they have, and the routine tests you get at the doctor that may not show it. our chief medical correspondent dr. nancy snyderman has our report.

    >> reporter: beverly's diagnosis of hepatitis c came five years ago after a visit to her doctor. now at age 56, every day is a struggle.

    >> i'm always tired, nauseated, very weak. fatigued.

    >> reporter: more than 3 million americans are infected with hepatitis c . even more alarming, 1/2 to 3/4 don't realize it.

    >> we find to find hepatitis c before a person develops cirrhosis. that means your liver is severely injured with scar tissue . it's not working the way it's supposed to work.

    >> by the time scar tissue is found, the liver is damaged so badly it often leads to cancer or a need for a transplant. hepatitis c is spread primarily through iv drug use , blood transfusions and by sexual contact. and it kill, kauing 8,000 to 10,000 deaths per year. there's no vaccine for hepatitis c sliek there is for its cousin hepatitis b. but a simple blood test can detect the virus, and there are medications for treatment.

    >> if you need to call me, leave me a message.

    >> reporter: unfortunately for beverly, her body can't tolerate the drugs and she may soon be placed on a transplant list. her case is not rare. that's why her doctor recommends that patients in their 40s and older be screened for the virus.

    >> the only way to find it is to go after it and look for it. so everybody should be, adults, should be screened for the virus.

    >> obviously screening all these baby boomers is going to be quite an undertaking, but experts say finding this virus and treating it and changing lifestyle is still less expensive than the cost of treating liver cancer or liver transplant .

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