PDT Staff Writer
Recently released numbers show an estimated 17 percent decrease in the number of Hepatitis C cases reported by the Portsmouth and Scioto County Health Departments.
“With the data we have from 2009 through the end of May 2012, we’ve seen an estimated 17 percent decrease in the number of Hepatitis C, cases,” said Bobbi Bratchett HIV intervention specialist. “We are cautiously optimistic though, because you need longer stats to truly find a reduction.”
She said there are a lot of aspects to be considered in the estimated 17 percent decline.
“Those factors include the closure of pain clinics, syringe exchange program, testing factors among many others,” Bratchett said.
She said the decrease is not based on Ohio Department of Health stats. But are based on numbers kept by an epidemiologist that reports to the health department.
According to the health department numbers there were 74 cases of Hepatitis C reported by the Portsmouth City Health Department in 2009, with 112 by the Scioto County Health Department, for a total of 186 cases.
In 2010 there were 114 cases reported by Portsmouth and 161 reported by Scioto County, for a total of 275 cases.
In 2011 there were 132 cases reported by Portsmouth and 162 by Scioto County, for a total of 294 cases.
Through May of 2012 there were 49 cases by Portsmouth and 72 by Scioto County, for a total of 121 cases.
According to Bratchett, Scioto County has led the state in cases of Hepatitis C for some time.
“This tells me that we are making great strides. I’m very proud of our community because we saw a problem and decided to confront it head on,” Bratchett said. “This does not mean our work is finished by any means, but is ever evolving.”
Earlier in the year it was reported that, for the first time in more than a decade, drug deaths in Scioto County have decreased.
“The rate of drug-related deaths have climbed steadily over the last 10 years. This is the first time we’ve seen that number decline since we started keeping track in 2001,” said Lisa Roberts, public health nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department. “We know this number has declined because of our efforts and the community’s efforts to interfere with illegal distribution of pain pills. It’s also the result of a lot of community education. It was a wonderful year of the community coming together.”
According to the Scioto County Coroner Dr. Darren Adams’ office, in 2011 there were 20 deaths directly related to drugs and 11 deaths attributed as drug-related deaths. In 2010, there were 24 deaths directly related to drugs and 19 deaths that were drug-related.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.