Rockford Health System researches treatment for Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is now the most common bloodborne infection in the U.S., affecting approximately 4 million Americans. Around 150,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with infected blood and can cause cirrhosis (irreversible and potentially fatal liver scarring), liver cancer, or liver failure. People at risk are health care workers, hemophiliacs, IV drug users, anyone who has had a tattoo, body piercing or blood transfusion (prior to 1992), people with multiple sexual partners or anyone who is in close household contact with an infected person.
Hepatitis C is the major reason for liver transplants in the United States, accounting for 1,000 of the procedures annually. The disease is responsible for between 8,000 and 10,000 deaths yearly. Rockford Health Systems Gastroenterology Department is participating in an ongoing study of liver disease in conjunction with Northwestern University Medical Center. The purpose of the study is to investigate and provide access to new treatments for patients with Hepatitis C and other liver diseases.