Park County experiencing Hepatitis-C outbreak
Park County saw an increase of 144-percent in newly reported Hepatitis-C cases from 2011 to 2012
The Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health, Ashley Grajczyk, says right now Park County has about double the state rate of cases.
“What that means is we have an outbreak in that county,” she says.
Grajczyk says the health department is “attributing the majority on newly reported cases to injection drug use. 41% of cases reported in 2012 indicated that they had either been currently, recently, or formerly injecting drugs.”
The state is working with local health agencies and organizations to increase awareness of and screening for the disease. Treatment for Hepatitis-C is expensive and there is a lot of stigma surrounding it. Currently there are no providers in the county who will treat under- or uninsured Hepatitis-C patients. That’s something Grajczyk is trying to help local health advocates work on.
“From individuals that were testing positive in 2012, a pretty large majority of them were either underinsured or uninsured. So we’re looking for a resource for individuals who may not have insurance,” she says.
For now, at risk people like injection drug users, can get screened for free or reduced rates by printing out a voucher at knowyo.org.