ATLANTA, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. adults born from 1945 to 1965 -- all baby boomers -- should have a one-time screening for the hepatitis C virus, federal health officials said.
Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as many as 3.9 million U.S. adults are infected with hepatitis C, a virus that can cause inflammation and permanent liver damage.
The infection is most prevalent among people born from 1945 through 1965, but approximately 50 percent to 75 percent of those with hepatitis C are not aware that they are infected. Hepatitis C progresses slowly and the risk of serious complications increases as time passes.
The CDC recommends people diagnosed with hepatitis C have a brief alcohol screening and intervention, as alcohol use has been shown to accelerate the progression of liver disease.
The study authors considered evidence from a systematic review of 22 randomized, controlled trials published since 2010 to determine the effects of a brief alcohol intervention versus no intervention on reduction of alcohol use.
The findings showed patients who had a brief alcohol reduction intervention reduced their weekly alcohol consumption by an average of 38.42 grams, or 1.4 ounces, compared with those who had no intervention.
The findings were published online in Annals of Internal Medicine.