Screen all baby boomers for hepatitis C: MDs
TORONTO - A group of doctors says Canada should start screening all baby boomers for the potentially deadly liver disease hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver and the most common reason for liver transplantation in North America.
People chronically infected with the blood-borne virus typically have no symptoms until they develop liver failure or cancer of the liver.
But Toronto liver specialist Dr. Hemant Shah says that unlike most chronic viral infections, hepatitis C is curable.
The Canadian Liver Foundation recommends that people born from 1945 to 1975 be tested because that age group represents more than 75 per cent of those infected.
Canada now screens people based on risky behaviours such as IV drug use, but studies have shown this approach is not very effective.
Writing in Monday's Canadian Medical Association Journal, Shah and his co-authors argue that Canada should follow the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which recently recommended that all baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C.