Recent figures released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health show that hepatitis C cases are on the rise among Massachusetts youth due to widespread use of heroin and other Injectable drugs.
Health officials say that while the overall number of hepatitis C cases among the general population is decreasing, the number of cases among the youth in the age group of 15-24 years has increased due to the sharing of the needles used to inject the drugs.
According to the figures published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report, the number of infections has shot up from 65 cases per 100,000 people in 2002 to 113 cases per 100,000 people.
In the two years between 2007 and 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health received nearly 2,000 new cases of hepatitis C infections with over 53 percent being confirmed while the rest are being viewed as probable.
The health officials state that 72 percent of the new cases admitted to being either present of past users of injected drugs with over 85 percent of them using heroin.
"Of cases with available risk data, injection drug use was the most common risk factor for HCV transmission. The increase in case reports appears to represent an epidemic of HCV infection related to IDU (injected drug use) among new populations of adolescents and young adults in Massachusetts", the report said.