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Hepatitis C Outbreak in Ward County

For questions or more information, the public can call the Division of Disease Control at 1.800.472.2180.

The North Dakota Department of Health, with assistance from private, local, state and federal partners, is investigating a cluster of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases in the Minot area. Testing done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found the cases to be genetically linked, indicating there is a common source for these infections. Additional testing is continuing and may reveal more cases.

To date, the source of the infection has not been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

Data At-a-Glance: (Last Updated October 6, 2014)

Total Number of Cases Linked to the Outbreak: 50

General Information
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C can lead to lifelong (chronic) infection and can cause serious liver damage (cirrhosis or liver cancer) and death. About 80 percent of people infected with HCV have mild or no signs or symptoms initially. Symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, dark urine or jaundice (i.e., yellowing of skin or whites of eyes). Some people recover fully, but 55 percent to 85 percent of infected people carry the virus in their blood for a lifetime and develop chronic infection. 

How is Hepatitis C spread?
People can become infected primarily through blood-to-blood contact or more rarely by sexual contact. In general, the following groups are at an increased risk for hepatitis C and are recommended for testing:

  • Current or past injection drug users – even if a person injected just once in their life
  • Recipients of clotting factors (products given to help blood clot) made before 1987
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Recipients of blood and/or solid organs before 1992
  • Infants born to infected mothers
  • Individuals who receive tattoos or body piercings from an unregulated entity
  • Baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 who have never been tested

Information/Resources

Additional Information

News Releases

Information will also be available on the Department of Health’s Facebook page and on Twitter, with the hashtag #ndhepc. 

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