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Maine has highest rate of confirmed new hepatitis C cases in nation

Federal health officials are reporting that Maine has the highest rate of new hepatitis C cases in the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2020 data indicate that more than 7,000 Mainers are living with chronic hepatitis.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can lead to hospitalization and death. There are vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and hepatitis C is treatable, but the CDC says many people do not know that they are infected. Hepatitis C is spread through blood and injection drug use.

The Maine CDC says the state's rate of hepatitis C may appear high because Maine has a robust testing and reporting protocol, unlike other states.