Hepatitis C cases up 10%

Increased public awareness of hepatitis C has led to a 10 per cent increase in its diagnosis, says the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The number of newly diagnosed cases in England rose to 8,346 in 2006. Efforts to raise awareness have encouraged more people to get tested, according to the HPA’s annual report.

A recent NHS campaign has increased media coverage of the infection, known as the ‘silent epidemic’ because of its mild or non-existent symptoms.

Professor Pete Borriello, director of the HPA’s centre for infections, welcomed the report.

‘The improved public awareness we are seeing represents a marked change to the position we were in just a few years ago.

‘The increase in testing and diagnosis will help reduce some of the severe complications of hepatitis C that can occur, like liver cancer.’

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Health Protection Agency

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