Awareness ‘behind higher Hep C levels’

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AN increase in the number of people being diagnosed with hepatitis C in the Lothians may not be because of more infections.

Figures released this week have shown that 268 people in the area were told they had the condition last year, compared to 191 in 2009.

That led to initial concern that levels of the infection – which attacks the liver – were on the rise.

However, experts have said that increased awareness among both the general public and the medical profession was the more likely reason.

One NHS source said: “It’s a disease that can lie unnoticed for years, in some cases decades, and we know that there was more risk in the decades before now.

“It makes sense that this is just a lag that is catching up, rather than it being actually more prevalent.”