ICU doctors have begun to treat a new wave of women in ICUs, a development that will be the first of its kind in the US.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified over 50 new cases of HCV-19 among women in its own ICU.
The agency expects the new cases to increase to 1,000 by mid-August.
ICU specialists are trying to treat the new strain with medication and other treatments, but many patients are still waiting for the right time to see their doctors.
Dr. Jennifer Stoll, director of the ICU Center for the Advancement of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, says she has seen women in their 40s and 50s suffering the most from HCV and not having access to appropriate healthcare.
Stoll says women with HCV symptoms are often reluctant to seek treatment because they don’t want to risk spreading the disease.
“Many women have to put themselves at risk to get the right kind of care,” Stoll said.
Some of those women may be treated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but Stoll does not recommend that they get an appointment with a specialist.
“That’s why we have to find a way to help these women and help them get the care they need,” Stol said.
She says it will take a long time for the US to address the problem.
“In my 40s, I saw women in my 40 years who had HCV for the first time and had been treated at a hospital.
It was devastating,” Stolt said.
HCV is spread through sexual contact.
The virus can cause blood clots and other problems in the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain, which can lead to coma, paralysis, and death.
Symptoms can be mild or severe.
Some people can develop a fever, cough, and chills.
There is no cure for HCV.
Most people recover from the virus in three to five years.
It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans have been infected with the virus, and the CDC estimates that more than 3 million are infected each year.
The new HCV outbreak is the largest in the history of the US, according to Dr. Eric Zuesse, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania.
Zuessel says it is too early to say if the pandemic will spread quickly.
But he says the US should do more to prevent HCV infections.
Zuedsel believes the US needs to improve its surveillance systems and better educate people about the virus.
“If you have an outbreak of the virus and you’re not being able to test people, then you’re doing everything you can to make sure that you don’t have the infection in the population,” Zuessey said.
US hospitals already use surveillance systems to identify the presence of the disease in the healthcare system.
Zuesses report says hospitals are doing a good job in preventing HCV cases, but they are still working to figure out how to prevent the spread of the infection.
“There is not enough information out there about this, so we need to do better,” Zueksse said.
“And we need better access to the CDC and other healthcare providers.”
The CDC has also announced plans to start offering free, high-tech HCV tests in healthcare settings, which Zuessels advocates.
The tests are designed to test blood and urine samples for the virus on a regular basis.
Zsuessels fears that the test will be a quick way to diagnose HCV infection in a crowded healthcare setting.
“It may be that they’re using the test as an indicator of where they think someone might have an infection, but in fact it’s not that,” Zsays.
“They’re not really looking at whether the patient has symptoms of infection.
It’s just an indicator.”