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Hepatitis C Among Young Adults on the rise in northern Wisconsin
 
 
  Wisconsin health officials want to learn why cases of Hepatitis C have increased dramatically among young adults in six north central counties.

By: Steve Roisum, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram

Wisconsin health officials want to learn why cases of Hepatitis C have increased dramatically among young adults in six north central counties.

The state and local health departments are surveying adult Hepatitis C patients under 30 years old in the counties of Marathon, Wood, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, and Portage, to figure out why the overall number has gone up in recent years.

Oneida County public health nurse Liz Whalen saw her county's Hepatitis C caseload go from four new cases between 2004 and 2008, to 10 since 2009. She says the cause may be from shared needles, and the number of Hepatitis C cases could continue to climb.

"I think it certainly can continue," says Whalen. "Hopefully, part of the continuation is that we've been educating a lot of people and when the public health nurses actually talked with these people that are effected, They do go back and tell their partners, so we tend to see some of the partners coming back to be tested."

Beth Kaplan, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, says the blossoming number of Hepatitis C cases among young adults may be in other Wisconsin counties as well. But she says the problem certainly isn't isolated to Wisconsin. Kaplan says there have been similar increases in Massachusetts, Ohio and Indiana, so it's likely a problem that will go nationwide.

Whalan says having Hepatitis C can lead to liver problems.

 
 
 
 
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