What are the guidelines for hepatitis C (hep C) infection screening?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

In August 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded their existing, risk-based testing guidelines to recommend a one-time blood test for HCV infection in baby boomers, the generation born between 1945 and 1965, who account for approximately three fourths of all chronic HCV infections in the United States (see Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born During 1945–1965). [53]

In June 2013, The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) also updated its 2004 HCV screening and treatment recommendations, advocating a one-time screening for all persons born between 1945 and 1965. The new recommendation arose from the fact that a lack of universal blood screening for the virus prior to 1992 placed those born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s at an increased risk of exposure to HCV. [54, 55, 56] It was estimated that one-time HCV testing in this population could identify nearly 808,600 additional people with chronic infection. [53]

Screening for HCV in the emergency department (ED) has been found to be feasible, albeit costly. [57, 58] All individuals identified with HCV should be screened and/or managed for alcohol abuse, followed by referral to preventive and/or treatment services, as appropriate. [53]


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