EUREKA, CA. (KIEM) – Humboldt County has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the state, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
More than 7,500 county residents had the virus in 2017, which equates to about one in eighteen people.
Hepatitis C comes largely from sharing needles, and because many people’s symptoms are mild, those infected don’t always realize that they have it – although, the virus can lead to serious health problems.
Hepatitis C is treatable, and Hepatitis A and B can both be avoided with vaccines.
The Humboldt Health Department says education and prevention is key.
“It’s really important for people to get tested, because they can be treated and cured. Otherwise, liver disease is a consequence of not treating it, and you can die from it,” said Humboldt County Public Health Director, Michele Stephens.
“About 75% of people that have Hepatitis C, don’t know they’re infected. That is true nationally. The vast majority of people which Hep C are baby boomers. That’s why the CDC advised people get tested and be considered for treatment. Keep in mind this is at treatable disease, with a 95% cure rate,” said Humboldt County Public Health Officer, Donald Baird.
For more information on prevention and testing, you can contact your health care provider, or the North Coast AIDS Project at 707-441-5074.