Missouri Launching Statewide Effort to Eliminate Hepatitis C

Missouri is kicking off a statewide effort to eliminate the most common blood-borne infection —hepatitis C.

Pate McCuien: The CDC estimates 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C in the U.S. and they believe up to half may not even know they are infected. That’s why MU Healthcare is working with the state of Missouri’s first hepatitis C elimination plan, called Show Me the Cure.

Most people with Hepatitis C don’t contract symptoms at first, but eventually, it can be detrimental to one’s health. MU Health Care Infectious Disease Specialist Dima Dandachi says they are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Dandachi: “What we want is actually detecting hepatitis C before even it is progressing to cause liver disease and symptoms.”

McCuien: Hepatitis C can be transmitted many ways, including through the sharing of needles and syringes, the most common method, or it can be sexually transmitted or passed from a mother to baby. However, once it’s identified it is treatable and, in most cases, it can be cured within 8 to 12 weeks. Tara McKinney from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the goal of the effort isn’t just to reduce the spread of the virus in the state.

Dandachi: “When we're writing and talking about a Missouri hepatitis C elimination plan, this is something that could really be eliminated, not only in the state, but in the country.”

McCuien: For more on this effort, visit muhealth.org/for-media.

I’m Pate McCuien, with a spotlight on Mizzou.

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