HUNDREDS of people are carrying the cancer-causing virus hepatitis C
But only one in six of them realise they are infected.
A call for people to be more aware of the blood-borne disease has been made as part of today’s World Hepatitis Day, which is organised by the World Hepatitis Alliance.
The Hepatitis C Trust estimates that 407 people have the virus in Hartlepool and 1,244 in County Durham, with 7,200 people infected across the North-East.
Charles Gore, chief executive officer of the Hepatitis C Trust and president of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said: “Rates of hepatitis C are continuing to rise at an alarming rate in the North-East, due to a lack of awareness and our failure to tackle this serious but treatable condition in the UK.”
Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
Injecting drugs, steroids, cosmetic treatments like botox or tanning agents in unsterile environments, or even sharing drugs snorting equipment can also pass on the virus.
The trust is launching a campaign called The Great British C Party to encourage people in the region to host dinner parties filled with liver-friendly treats that can help limit the effects of the disease.
For more information or to download the recipes visit www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and follow the link on the bottom of this story.