ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A new health study reveals that hepatitis C infections are increasing at an alarming rate.
According to the CDC, hepatitis C virus infections have nearly tripled over five years reaching a 15-year high.
Southwest Georgia Health District officials say it's related to more people getting tested for the disease.
But they're not seeing South Georgians testing more than the rest of the nation nor do they have any evidence that hepatitis C infections are more prevalent in this area than other parts of the country.
The district health director says the numbers weren't surprising.
"The hepatitis c drugs have been heavily advertised on television so more people in the public are aware of hepatitis treatment and they're aware of the option of getting tested. That's a good thing, we want more people to be tested," said Dr. Charles Ruis, District Health Director.
Hepatitis C is caused by the exposure to blood products such as the sharing of needles.
Because it's a disease that progresses over time, many people who are diagnosed don't show any symptoms.
But, officials say, if you do show symptoms, they can include chronic fatigue, liver damage and yellow tint to the skin or eyes.
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