Thursday, November 9, 2017

Researchers talk hepatitis study results

Researchers at the University of Illinois Springfield are sharing the results of a two-year study of hepatitis among homeless people.

Associate Professor Josiah Alamu decided to study the matter after reading federal data that pointed to increasing rates of Hepatitis C, particularly among homeless people and people in prison.

“As a public health officer, my concern would be ‘How much would the government save if we do the screening and prevention?'" Alamu said. “I did the math. It takes about $90,000 to treat one Hepatitis C patient.”

Alamu and a group of students conducted screenings of about 100 homeless people at shelters in Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Bloomington and Peoria, he said.

Of those screened with rapid testing, 13 percent tested positive for Hepatitis C and were referred to hospitals for further services, Alamu said. That compares to federal projections that between 10 and 30 percent of homeless people have Hepatitis C.

Alamu said the research could help develop tailored treatments and prevent the spread of Hepatitis C.

Alamu said his students are now partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Walgreens and others to conduct a mobile clinic in Springfield, providing screenings for homeless people and offering flu shots.

This article appeared on WAND 17 on November 8, 2017.

Watch the story online.