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Prevalence of Hepatitis C in a northern Washington clinic with special emphasis on the Native American population

1 August 2002


Background: Chronic Hepatitis C appears to be on the rise. Many individuals with documented HCV have been diagnosed as such by mere chance as a result of ruling out other etiology of vague symptoms. The symptoms and course of HCV is so variable that it raises many questions from patients and providers. Mortality from cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma as a result of HCV are predicted to triple within the next 10-20 years. There is very limited treatment available for HCV infected individuals. In addition, the treatment available that is specific to HCV is not recommended for depressed individuals. Frequently, people that experience chronic fatigue also are depressed, which then limits the treatment options available to this sub-group.

Methods: Inclusion criteria include all charts with a documented diagnosis of hepatitis C. This study recorded the prevalence of HCV in the Native American and Non-Native population in Northern Washington through retrospective chart review. This study recorded evidence to support the statistical need for community awareness and prevention.

Results: A total of 50 active patients were identified as having hepatitis C. Four percent of the clinics total patient population is infected with HCV. There were 20 natives, and 30 nonnatives represented in the sample.

Conclusion: The results found support the need for increased awareness and prevention in this community. All increase in education is needed to identify those individuals at risk for HCV and those that are undiagnosed.


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