According to 10TV, Hepatitis C has been running rampant in the country since 2014, possibly even earlier, as more people are dying from it than any other infectious disease combined including HIV, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. About 3.5 million Americans are living with the disease to date, resulting in over 19,500 deaths in 2014 alone.
"This is a very alarming trend," said Dr. John W. Ward of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division for Hepatitis.
Most cases are from those between the ages of 55 to 64, who might be living with the disease without even knowing it. The increase among baby boomers is due to unhygienic blood transfusions after World War II, though millennials have also been at a high risk of contracting the disease due to drugs.
"We have a new generation who's at risk of hepatitis C infection and so we're trying to stop risk of transmission among young people as we try to stop disease and mortality among baby boomers," said Ward.
Treatment for Hepatitis C is available, though it comes with an expensive price tag. Prevention is the real key to avoiding this deadly disease. WebMD notes that by avoiding exposure to blood, keeping personal items personal, and practicing safe sex can all help in the long run.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC also suggests that awareness of Hepatitis C are also important. As May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, Mermin says that now more than ever we need to be wary of the disease.
"Once hepatitis C testing and treatment are as routine as they are for high cholesterol and colon cancer, we will see people living the long, healthy lives they deserve," said Mermin.