Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Illinois Senate Democrats brought awareness to the dangers of Hepatitis C to the Capitol as part of National Hepatitis C Awareness month

as shared by Illinois Senate Democrats ...

Hepatitis C is the most common form of liver disease. Hepatitis C is an epidemic that affects nearly 3.2 million people in the United States alone and about 150 million people worldwide. Researchers estimate that 75 percent of those currently living with Hepatitis C are undiagnosed. If left undiagnosed and untreated it can damage the liver to the point where a transplant becomes necessary.

Closer to home, 153,000 Illinoisans are estimated to be undiagnosed.

At a press conference on Wednesday, May 14, State Senator Tony Munoz joined Hepatitis C awareness advocate Kim Morreale McAuliffe to discuss the devastating effects the disease has had on both of their families.

Because of the significant health implications from Hepatitis C, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a one-time screening for all baby boomers (those born between 1945-1965).

Baby boomers make up 27 percent of the population, and researchers say that baby boomers are one of the most at risk populations for the disease. “Hepatitis C has reached epidemic levels, so awareness, education and early detection are instrumental in our ability to combat it,” said Senator John G. Mulroe (D-10th), who is Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee. “We strongly encourage everyone to be screened.”

Sen. Mulroe led by example and was screened for the disease last week at the Capitol during the awareness activities. The test is a simple finger prick and results are available within minutes.

Mulroe is also working to move legislation through the General Assembly that would require doctors to ask their patients if they are interested in obtaining a Hepatitis C screening in conjunction with their annual blood work.

The proposal would require hospitals and health service providers to offer Hepatitis C testing to all patients born between 1945 and 1965.

“This is one of the most significant disease outbreaks of our time,” Munoz said. “And this one-time screening that can save your life. We need to focus as much energy on raising awareness as possible.”

No comments: