Virginia Mason Memorial official say Yakima County has one of the highest hospitalization rates due to chronic Hepatitis C infection in Washington State.   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 until it's too late, 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 had a blood transfusion prior to July 1993 or possibly from childhood vaccinations in the 1950s or 60s .

Hepatitis C can lead to the destruction of the liver which can be fatal but Hepatitis C can now be cured.   Find out if you have Hepatitis C at a community Hep C screenings to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday March 17.   The screenings will be held at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine, 4003 Creekside Loop. The cost is $40, but medical officials say it might be covered by your insurance carrier.

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