ATLANTA, May 7 (UPI) -- An estimated 3 million Americans are living with hepatitis C and about 75 percent don't know they are infected, U.S. health officials estimate.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report said only half of U.S. adults with hepatitis C receive complete testing for the virus.
"Many people who test positive on an initial hepatitis C test are not receiving the necessary follow-up test to know if their body has cleared the virus or if they are still infected," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.
"Complete testing is critical to ensure that those who are infected receive the care and treatment for hepatitis C that they need in order to prevent liver cancer and other serious and potentially deadly health consequences."
Testing all baby boomers properly is critical to stem the increasing toll of death and disease from hepatitis C in this nation, CDC officials said.
"CDC recommends that everyone in the U.S. born from 1945 through 1965 be tested for hepatitis C in order to increase the proportion of those who know they are infected and linked to care," the report said. "The CDC also recommends that other populations at increased risk for hepatitis C get tested."