Infection Control Today (08.05.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
CDC and Quest Diagnostics announced a partnership aimed to improve public health analysis of hepatitis C virus screening, diagnosis, and treatment in the United States. The project would focus on US residents born between 1945 and 1965, who are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other age groups.
The collaboration would allow Quest and CDC to share access to de-identified patient information—in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—including screening and confirmatory test results, genotyping, and viral load tests used in treatment management. CDC and Quest would analyze the information to identify trends in hepatitis C infections, testing, and treatment, and to detect variations due to gender, age, geography, and clinical management. Quest’s comprehensive diagnostic services include “genotyping, risk stratifying, and viral load testing” used in hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment, and management.
According to Dr. John W. Ward, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, 3 million Americans have hepatitis C, but approximately 75 percent are not aware of their infection. Early diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C—the most common “bloodborne infection” in the United States—could prevent cirrhosis, liver damage, liver cancer, and death. In 2012, CDC recommended one-time hepatitis C screening for baby boomers; the US Preventive Services Task Force made the same recommendation in June 2013. CDC estimates that one-time hepatitis C screening for baby boomers could prevent 120,000 hepatitis C-related deaths.
Quest’s Medical Director of Infectious Diseases Rick Pesano, MD, PhD, stated that the project ultimately would help clinicians diagnose and treat hepatitis C and improve the lives of affected patients.