A growing problem for aging Vietnam-era veterans is showing up at
a rate five times the general public. (more)
Published: January 17, 2011
BEXLEY, Ohio -- It is becoming a battle that doesn't end for Vietnam veterans.
Medical writers researching VA medical centers claim that between 10 and 20 percent of veterans from the Vietnam era have hepatitis c.
"It can remain undetected, usually remains undetected for 20 to 30 years and then all of a sudden things start to show up with you," said Dennis Agin, who has the virus.
Agin is a navy veteran and was a doctor in Vietnam.
"I did unprotected surgery in Vietnam," said Agin.
In fact, that's where the disease is showing up: among medics from Vietnam.
"If they were medics and they went to a wounded person, they're going to get that person's blood on them and if they had a cut on their body or it went in their eyes they're going to pick up the disease," Agin said.
It is believed that the disease could have also been passed with air injection inoculations, but it is among the medical veterans where it is showing up more frequently.
Agin has started his own organization, the Coalition For Veterans from his home in Bexley.
What started as a personal battle after being denied most of a VA benefit for hepatitis c is gaining attention from around the country.
He spends much of his time trying to help other veterans who at this stage of their lives are being reminded of another time in their life.
"With hepatitis c, people are dying from this all the time," Agin said.
To contact Dr. Agin, call 877-OHIO-VET or email firstname.lastname@example.org.