By Associated Press • 

Infection, death rates for hepatitis C soar in Oregon

PORTLAND  — A new report shows that the number of hepatitis C infections in Oregon has climbed steadily since 2013, and death rates have soared to exceed the nationwide rate by 80 percent.

The Oregonian reports that hepatitis C deaths in the state are now six times higher than those from AIDS.

Most new infections are believed to be related to injection drug use. Other people were infected by pre-1992 blood transfusions or organ donations. Before that year, donations weren't universally screened for the hepatitis C antibody.

Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis. There are effective treatments for the disease, but they are expensive. And it can take decades for hepatitis symptoms to appear, so people often don't know they're infected.

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