National taskforce recommends hepatitis C screening for all US adults

A national volunteer taskforce comprising experts in infection prevention and evidence-based medicine, is recommending healthcare professionals screen all adults for hepatitis C.

The new recommendation is an update of the task force's 2013 hepatitis C recommendation for adolescents and adults, which urged hepatitis C screening for those at high risk for infection and a one-time screening for adults born between 1945 and 1965.

The new recommendation expands the ages for screening to all adults, from 18 to 79 years. It also recommends screening only once for most adults. Only those who show evidence of a continued risk for hepatitis infection should be screened periodically. Pregnant adults should also be screened.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver and is primarily spread when blood from an
infected person enters the body of someone without the infection.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, convened by the HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, makes evidence-based recommendations about preventive services, such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications. It also makes a report to Congress that identifies evidence gaps in research and recommends priority areas.

The taskforce published its recommendation statement and corresponding supporting evidence online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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