USPSTF Offers Lukewarm Support for Hepatitis C Testing in Baby Boomers

December 14, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


In a draft opinion, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) states that clinicians “may consider” screening asymptomatic adults born between 1945 and 1965 for the hepatitis C virus—an unenthusiastic recommendation compared with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August that advised a one-time screening for all baby boomers (see the August 24, 2012, Physician Practice E-News). According to CDC, about 3% of this age group is infected, accounting for roughly 75% of all cases nationwide. CDC says that screening baby boomers would detect more than 800,000 infections, which could prevent many cases of liver disease and about 120,000 deaths with prompt treatment. USPSTF rated its recommendation as grade C, meaning that “for most individuals without signs or symptoms there is likely to be only a small benefit from this service.”

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