Epidemiology has a crucial role in describing health status, identifying risk factors, and analyzing relationships between health and hazardous agents. To improve the health status of a population, the knowledge produced by epidemiology needs to be used and translated into interventions (Gulis & Fujino, 2015).The hepatitis C virus was identified in 1989 and the FDA approved tests to detect the antibody to hepatitis C virus in 1992. This virus was identified as a cause of chronic liver disease, liver cancer and cirrhosis. Twenty to thirty years will elapse between infection and cirrhosis in 25 to 30% of infected individuals. Of those without cirrhosis, greater than 25% will develop end stage liver disease or liver cancer if left untreated (Klevens, Hu, Jiles, & Holmberg, 2012).People born from 1945-1965 are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults. Most people with hepatitis C do not know they are infected and since many people can live with hepatitis C for decades with symptoms, testing is critical so those infected can get treated and cured (Center for Disease Control, n.d.). People born between 1945 and 1965 may have been infected from medical equipment or procedures prior to universal precautions and infection control procedures, contaminated blood, or sharing needles used to inject drugs. Many people infected with this virus do not know how or when they were infected (Center for Disease Control, n.d.)Epidemiological research and evidence had a direct impact on the CDC’s recommendations to test patients admitted to hospital born between 1945 and 1965 allowing for identification and treatment of individuals infected who may otherwise have been left untreated. This demonstrates the impact of epidemiology on change of practice in the clinical setting. In addition, epidemiological research in this area has improved public awareness and provides opportunity for education in disease prevention.An understanding of how patients are infected with hepatitis C is important for determining who to screen and treat. This will involve collecting data about the number of individuals infected, individuals who may have received blood transfusions prior to screening, exploring sexual habits of the population, prevalence of drug use, patients undergoing hemodialysis, and patients having tattoos prior to regulation.ReferencesCenter for Disease Control (n.d.). Hepatitis C: Why people born from 1945-1965 should get tested. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/knowmore hepatitis/media/pdfs/factsheet-boomers.pdfGulis, G., & Fujino, Y. (2015, March 5). Epidemiology, population health, and health impact assessment. Journal of Epidemiology, 25(3), 179-180. https://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20140212Klevens, R. M., Hu, D. J., Jiles, R., & Holmberg, S. D. (2012, July). Evolving epidemiology of hepatitis c virus in the United States. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 55(Suppl 1). https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cis393
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