OKWatch Radio: Hepatitis C Cases Surge Across State

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Brian A. Hopkins/Oklahoma Watch

Engineer and author Brian A. Hopkins battled hepatitis C, which he contracted more than two decades ago in blood transfusions after a motorcycle wreck.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Department reports the number of people with new cases of hepatitis C is on the rise again.

Figures show there were 45 known acute, or short-term, cases of the contagious liver disease in 2014, up about 13 percent from 2013. But there are strong indications hepatitis C is far more prevalent than the numbers indicate, and the state has one of the highest rates of acute hep C in the nation. Thousands of others are infected but don’t know it.

Oklahomans are paying a price for it through higher insurance rates because of high costs of medication. Brad Gibson of Oklahoma Watch reports.

Graphic by Nate Robson.