Hepatitis C is on the rise, and a very specific age group is at risk of contracting the viral infection.
Experts believe more people in their 20s are being diagnosed because of an increase in drug use.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the number of new Hepatitis C infections have nearly tripled in the last five years.
Local health professionals tell KTSM that it’s not just drug users who are most likely to be diagnosed, but also people who have had a tattoo at an unlicensed shop, those who have been incarcerated, and healthcare workers.
Doctors say many people with Hepatitis C will go undiagnosed and can suffer liver damage without any symptoms.
“Remember that this is a silent killer,” transplant hepatologist Dr. Ruben Ramirez explains, “so even though you don’t feel the symptoms, it’s causing damage internally in your organs, specifically in your liver.”
According to the CDC, Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease.
Dr. Ramirez says that once diagnosed, it can be easy to treat and cure with a pill.