Yakima County has one of the highest hospitalization rates due to chronic Hepatitis C infection in Washington State. That's according to officials at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital. Between 2.7 million and 3.5 million people in the United States have Hepatitis C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - and, because many have no symptoms, 75 percent do not know it.
The CDC recommends all baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) be tested, because this age group is five times more likely than any other to have Hep C. The virus was not discovered until 1989 and is spread through blood contact ­-- often from having a blood transfusion before July 1993, vaccinations in the 1950s or 60s, or by sharing needles.
But Hepatitis C can now be cured. Find out if you have Hepatitis C at one of two community Hep C screenings to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 17 and March 17. The screenings will be held at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine, 4003 Creekside Loop. The cost is $40, but it might be covered by your insurance carrier.