Health care providers target hepatitis C in rural Vermont

The van being used by the health care team conducting a hepatitis C clinical trial for the Rural New England Health Study.
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Three Massachusetts health organizations have embarked on a clinical trial to try to reduce the prevalence of hepatitis C connected to drug use in the rural communities of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The Rural New England Health Study — a joint effort involving Better Life Partners, Baystate Health and Tufts University School of Medicine — is currently operating in areas around Brattleboro and Keene, New Hampshire, using a van equipped with medical staff, blood testing and syringe services to reach out to people who inject drugs, and might be infected with hepatitis C.

The van being used by the health care team conducting a hepatitis C clinical trial for the Rural New England Health Study.

Hepatitis C Virus, or HCV, is among the most commonly reported infections in Vermont, according to Dan Daltry, infectious disease program manager for the Vermont Department of Health. Daltry said more than 800 cases of the disease are identified each year.

“What is problematic is knowing what is acute, what is chronic and what could be historic,” Daltry said. “We are working to improve our monitoring.”

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