Centre for Disease Control Releases Hep C Report
Prince George, B.C. – A new report out of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) suggests there is little difference in the successful delivery of hepatitis C care in urban versus rural areas in British Columbia.
Dr. Nuria Chapinal, an epidemiologist from the BCCDC, presented her findings at Positive Living North today.
Using a care continuum model known in medical circles as a Cascade of Care, it showed eight per cent of hepatitis C patients in urban areas were cured because of successful hepatitis C treatment versus six per cent in rural areas.
The study examined 73,000 individuals in urban areas from 1992-2012 and about 8,400 people in rural areas over the same period.
(Rural was defined as a community with 20,000 or fewer residents.)
After her presentation, Chapinal admitted she was “a little bit” surprised there wasn’t a greater disparity between the two regions.
“But at the same time, it’s reassuring that people who live in the rural areas are managing to get care at the same rate as people who live in the urban areas – if they are diagnosed.”
But Vanessa West, executive director, at Positive Living North, was a lot more surprised by the findings.
“I was shocked there was not more of a disparity but there could be some fluctuation with regards to the amount of testing that is taking place in rural and remote communities,” she said.
“I think we always have to take into account that there’s always less testing in rural and remote communities.”
Asked if she had confidence in the study, she said she still had “some questions.”
“I think with clearer data analysis, that we’ll have a clearer picture and that will give us an idea of what barriers we still have to cross to make this more accessible and better for everyone living with hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. Known as a “silent killer” – it is responsible for increasing rates of cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, liver transplant and other serious complications. The BCCDC estimates it affects roughly 1.5 per cent of all Canadians.