DDW: Fewer Child Hepatitis C Cases ID'd Than Expected

Researchers estimate that very few children with the condition are receiving appropriate care
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- The number of reported pediatric hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases in Florida is substantially lower than expected, pointing to inadequate identification and suggesting that the percentage of children receiving appropriate care for the condition is low, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week 2010, held from May 1 to 5 in New Orleans.

Aymin Delgado-Borrego, M.D., of the University of Miami, and colleagues compared the number of cases of pediatric HCV (younger than 19 years old) in Florida from 2000 to 2008 registered in the Merlin database to the number of expected cases based on the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and U.S. Census Bureau data.

The researchers found only 1,755 cases of pediatric HCV in Florida during 2000 to 2008, which was only 14.4 percent of the 12,155 expected number of HCV cases in the state in 2008. The researchers further estimated that no more than 8.5 percent of the identified pediatric HCV cases had undergone evaluation by a pediatric hepatologist.

"Only a minority of expected pediatric HCV cases are identified in Florida, which constitutes a critical public health problem. Although under-reporting of this infection is possible, the number of identified children with HCV who are receiving appropriate medical care is unacceptably low," the authors write.

Abstract No. 232
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