Oct 3, 2019

Opioid crisis drives spike in Hepatitis C among pregnant women

Hepatitis C virus. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The rate of pregnant women with Hepatitis C was 5 times higher in 2015 than in 2000 due to the substantial level of opioid abuse in the U.S., according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Thursday.

The big picture: 68% of pregnant women with Hepatitis C have opioid use disorder. Overall cases of the virus almost tripled in the past few years, an effect of the opioid crisis and the unsanitary use of needles by drug users, CDC previously reported.

By the numbers: Rates of pregnant women with Hepatitis C and opioid use disorder spiked 148%, from 87.4 to 216.9 per 1,000 deliveries. The rates among those who did not abuse opioids were much lower, increasing from 0.7 to 2.6 per 1,000 deliveries.

  • Native American women were significantly more likely to have a Hepatitis C infection or opioid use disorder diagnosis at delivery compared to non-Hispanic black women.
  • Non-Hispanic white women were the most likely to have a diagnosis of both at delivery.

Go deeper: Federal judge approves first safe U.S. injection site in Philadelphia

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Pregnant women often don't get key vaccines

65% of pregnant women in the U.S. said they were unvaccinated for influenza and whooping cough, according to a Vital Signs report released on Tuesday by the CDC.

Why it matters: Only 9% of women in the U.S. ages 15–44 become pregnant each year. But pregnant women accounted for at least 34% of influenza-related hospitalizations each season between 2010 and 2018.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019

The opioid epidemic will cost the U.S. as much as $214 billion in 2019

Hypodermic needles on the ground in the South Bronx on March 13, 2019. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The opioid epidemic cost the U.S. economy at least $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, and it'll cost another $172–$214 billion this year, according to a new analysis by the Society of Actuaries.

Why it matters: There's a serious financial incentive to address the opioid crisis, as well as a moral one.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Majority of pregnant women in U.S. aren't vaccinated for flu and whooping cough

Flu vaccine. Photo: Vladimir Gerdo/TASS via Getty Images

A majority — 65% — of pregnant women in the U.S. said they were unvaccinated for influenza and whooping cough, according to a Vital Signs report released on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Only 9% of women in the U.S. ages 15–44 become pregnant each year. But pregnant women accounted for at least 34% of influenza-related hospitalizations each season between 2010 and 2018. Newborns who contract influenza or whooping cough are at a high risk of hospitalization and death, as they are too young to be vaccinated.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019