Nov. 16, 2011, 3:34 p.m. EST
NEW YORK, NY, Nov 16, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Mount Sinai Medical Center has embarked on a new mission to educate the public about Hepatitis C and urge more Americans to be tested for this "silent killer." While two million people in the US suffer from Hepatitis C, an additional two million are undiagnosed, putting them at risk for devastating long-term effects. Through an important video program, The Mount Sinai Medical Center's Dr. Douglas Dieterich, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Liver Diseases and former Hepatitis C patient, urges people to take charge of their health by getting tested for the virus, even if no symptoms are present.
Did you know?
-- Not all patients are IV drug or intranasal cocaine users. Other ways to contract the virus include: body piercings, tattoos, manicures, pedicures, or even while playing sports such as boxing and rugby
-- The virus can creep along very silently, presenting no symptoms or abnormal liver test results for 30-40 years
-- Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood contact
-- If left undetected, the virus can lead to advanced scarring of the liver, or a condition known as cirrhosis, and eventually cause liver failure or other major complications including liver cancer
-- About 4 times as many people will die in 2020 from Hepatitis C then in 2010
"Many people around the world, probably the majority got it, through the fault of the health care system. They got infected needles from vaccines or other medical devices when they were in the medical world," says Dr. Dieterich.
Along with shattering the stigma surrounding the Hepatitis C virus, Dr. Dieterich wants patients to understand that testing positive for the virus is not a death sentence if caught early. Dr. Dieterich himself contracted the virus in 1977 while attending medical school. He accidentally stuck himself with a needle infected with Hepatitis C and suffered from a rare, but acute reaction. Frustrated with his diagnosis and lack of options to treat it, Dr. Dieterich dedicated his career to studying Hepatitis C and finding effective treatment options for those diagnosed. He was cured in 1998 after an 18-month regimen of daily interferon injections and Ribavirin -- an anti-viral drug that was unavailable at the time of his diagnosis. While he was lucky, he knew there was much more work to be done.
Thanks in part to Dr. Dieterich's commitment to better understanding and treating this virus, we have come much closer to a cure for this disease. Today patients have access to new, FDA-approved protease inhibitors that bring the cure rate to 80 percent.
"If we can treat you, we can cure you almost all of the time. So go get tested before it's too late," Dr. Dieterich says.
To learn more and watch patient stories, visit http://www.leadershiptocure.com/ .
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The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.
The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 16th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Of the top 20 hospitals in the United States, Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and US News & World Report and whose hospital is on the US News & World Report Honor Roll. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.
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WestGlen Media Relations
SOURCE: The Mount Sinai Medical Center