Hepatitis C’s Hold On California

California had 33,748 newly reported cases of chronic hepatitis C in 2015, the most among states that published their surveillance data on the disease.The rate of new Hepatitis C cases per 100,000 residents rose sharply from 2013 to 2014 and edged up again in 2015. The California Department of Public Health estimates 400,000 Californians live with the disease. Because hepatitis C is often asymptomatic, many are unaware they are infected.

Data from the department also show an increase in newly reported cases of chronic hepatitis C among young people in the state from 2011 to 2015. Among men ages 20-29, the rate of chronic infections increased 54.8 percent during that period. Among women of the same age, the increase was 41.7 percent. These data are consistent with increases across the U.S.