HEALTH chiefs predict that almost 700 people in the Yorkshire region may need liver transplants by 2015 due to hepatitis C, unless action is taken.
Latest figures estimated that 696 people in Yorkshire and The Humber will already be living with hepatitis C related end-stage liver disease in the region by 2015.
In 2010 alone, there were 980 newly diagnosed individuals with hepatitis C infection (all stages) in Yorkshire and the Humber.
This is a significant increase when compared with the regional figure of 393 cases recorded 10 years ago in 2000, however this increase is likely to be in part, due to increased awareness and more people coming forward for testing.
The predicted health burden is of serious concern to experts at the Health Protection Agency Yorkshire and the Humber.
Dr Ebere Okereke, consultant in communicable disease control at West Yorkshire Health Protection Unit, said: “Many people are unaware they are infected with the virus because they have no symptoms at all. If people think they have been exposed to the virus, it is vital they contact their GP or GUM clinic for a test. The earlier they are diagnosed the better, as they will have a greater chance of successfully treating their infection.”