CDC reports Oklahoma among top states with Hepatitis C deaths

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The CDC reports Oklahoma is among the top states with people who have died from or become infected with Hepatitis C. Health officials say much of this is attributed to lack of education. 

The CDC reports out of every group of 100 thousand individuals in Oklahoma almost 2000 of them have been affected with Hepatitis C.

“Hepatitis C is a virus that people get that directly affects the liver but can have other long term effects as well,” says Jequita Snyder, Mercy family physician.

Local Oklahoma doctor, Jequita Snyder says it can be obtained by IV drug use, transmitted sexually, from mother to baby at birth and much more. 

“Generally when you catch Hepatitis C an acute case you may not have symptoms, you may never know that you’ve gotten it and 20 and 30 years later you start having problems with your liver and that’s when you find out you’ve had it,” says Snyder.

Snyder adds a lot of the symptoms are easily looked over including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint, aches and pains. However, some people may not receive symptoms at all. One of the biggest burdens for Oklahoma is its effect on state operated agencies. One of these is in prisons.

“In the Department of Corrections right now there’s roughly around 3200 inmates that are currently affected with Hepatitis C. So the DOC is meeting with legislation and trying to find different resources to fund that treatment,” says Jeremy Floyd, Ottawa County Sheriff.

Floyd says it’s going to cost about $91 million dollars treat the infection for all inmates. 

“It’s important that they do get treated so that they don’t spread that or once they get out of prison they can have a healthy life,” says Floyd.

Treatment options have improved over the years. And if you suspect you may have it you should seek medical help immediately to prevent its spread.

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