Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prevalence of hepatitis C infection found to vary widely among Hispanics

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Summary:
A research team has found that the prevalence of Hepatitis C varies widely among different Hispanic groups in the U.S.

The first study of hepatitis C infection among different Hispanic groups in the U.S. has found that infection with the virus varies widely, with Puerto Rican Hispanics much more likely than other groups to be infected. The study, led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, highlights which Hispanic populations would benefit most from increased hepatitis C testing and treatment. It was published today in the online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that primarily affects the liver and is caused by the hepatitis C virus. The virus is usually spread through contact with the blood of an infected person, often from sharing needles to inject drugs. Many people were also infected through blood transfusions before testing of donated blood began in 1992. About 150 million people worldwide are now infected with hepatitis C, including three to four million in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of infected people don't know they're infected, since it may take decades for the virus to cause liver damage severe enough to cause symptoms.

"Until now, national health surveys that assessed hepatitis C's prevalence among U.S. Hispanics have looked only at Mexican-Americans," said Mark Kuniholm, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. "As a result, no one knew whether the rates were higher or lower in other Hispanic populations. It turns out that there's a dramatic variation in prevalence, with infection rates ranging from less than 1 percent in Hispanic men of South American or Cuban background to 11.6 percent in men of Puerto Rican background -- a more than 10-fold difference. This suggests that it's not appropriate to lump all U.S. Hispanics into a single, broad at-risk group."

The prevalence of hepatitis C infection found for men in other Hispanic groups are: Mexican (1.9 percent), Dominican (1.5 percent), Central American (1 percent), South American (.4 percent), and Cuban (0.8 percent). Hispanic women generally had a lower prevalence of hepatitis C infection than men, with Puerto Rican background women having the highest prevalence (3.9 percent) among Hispanic women. The overall prevalence of hepatitis C among men and women in the U.S. is 1.3 percent, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers said it was not clear why the prevalence of hepatitis C was highest among Hispanic men and women of Puerto Rican background compared with Hispanics of other backgrounds.

The Einstein study used data collected on 11,964 individuals as part of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, a National Institutes of Health-funded study of Hispanic adults from four communities (Bronx, Miami, Chicago and San Diego). It was led by Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation and Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine and professor of epidemiology & population health, and by Gloria Ho, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology & population health, both at Einstein.

"Clearly, our findings strongly support the need for community-based campaigns to increase testing and treatment in the Hispanic population," said Dr. Kuniholm. "But in our view, outreach efforts should be redoubled in those communities with large numbers of people of Hispanic background and a high prevalence of the disease. For example, if you're in Miami with its mostly Cuban Hispanic population, the cost effectiveness of extra screening may be less than in the Bronx or Chicago, which both have large Puerto Rican communities. Extra efforts to increase screening may be warranted in those communities."

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all Baby Boomers (people born from 1945 through 1965) be tested for hepatitis C. Those at increased risk for hepatitis C infection should also be tested, including people who ever injected illegal drugs (even if they did so only once or many years ago), have abnormal liver tests, received donated blood or organs before 1992, have been exposed to blood at work through needle sticks or injury with a sharp object, or were ever on hemodialysis.

The study's findings take on added importance with the development of a new class of hepatitis C drugs, recently approved by the FDA that can potentially cure more than 80 percent of people infected with hepatitis C. "In the past, treating hepatitis C was often very difficult and was associated with severe side effects," said Dr. Kuniholm. "The newer treatments cause far fewer side effects and are more effective and more convenient to take."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark H. Kuniholm, Molly Jung, James E. Everhart, Scott Cotler, Gerardo Heiss, Geraldine Mcquillan, Ryung S. Kim, Howard D. Strickler, Bharat Thyagarajan, Marston Youngblood, Robert C. Kaplan, Gloria Y. F. Ho. Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in US Hispanic/Latino Adults: Results from the NHANES 2007-2010 and HCHS/SOL Studies. Journal of Infectious Diseases, January 2014

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Prevalence of hepatitis C infection found to vary widely among Hispanics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114090431.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. (2014, January 14). Prevalence of hepatitis C infection found to vary widely among Hispanics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114090431.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Prevalence of hepatitis C infection found to vary widely among Hispanics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114090431.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins