BETHLEHEM, Pa., Aug. 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OraSure Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:OSUR), the market leader in oral fluid diagnostics, today announced its enthusiastic support for the expanded hepatitis C testing recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Recommendations for the Identification of HCV Chronic Infection Among Persons Born during 1945 through 1965, was published today in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Volume 61, Number RR-4) -- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6104a1.htm?s_cid=rr6104a1_w . The report, which augments the CDC's 1998 HCV testing guidelines, recommends HCV testing of all persons born between 1945 and 1965 – approximately 81 million people, according to the 2010 Census.
The CDC believes that identifying hepatitis C infections early will allow more baby boomers to receive care and treatment, before they develop life threatening liver disease. According to the CDC, one in 30 baby boomers has been infected with hepatitis C – approximately 2 million in total. Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults and most do not know it. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases including liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths and the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States, according to the agency. In addition, if left undetected and untreated, the total medical costs for patients with HCV are expected to more than double over the next 20 years – from $30 billion to $85 billion in 2024 according to the Millman Report entitled "Consequences of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Costs of a Baby Boomer Epidemic of Liver Disease.""The implementation of birth-cohort based HCV testing is a significant step toward halting the HCV epidemic in America," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "We applaud the CDC for issuing this call to action, and we stand ready to work in collaboration with our government, industry, community and healthcare partners to help ensure that all Americans at risk for HCV have access to testing. Implementation of the revised recommendations is a critical piece to the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan issued by the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health back in May of 2011."