Recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 1999 to 2007, the number of Americans dying from the Hepatitis C-related diseases nearly doubled.
Even more surprising was the finding that more than 65 percent of those diagnosed (2 million of 3.2 million) were baby boomers, including actress Pamela Anderson and singers Natalie Cole and Steve Tyler.
So, for the first time in history, the government is proposing that all baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C.
The Hepatitis C virus can gradually scar the liver and lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer, and is the leading cause of liver transplant. In total, the CDC reports, more than 15,000 Americans die each year from hepatitis C-related illnesses.
"The CDC views hepatitis C as an unrecognized health crisis for the country, and we believe the time is now for a bold response," said Dr. John W. Ward, the CDC's hepatitis chief.
However, even with the dramatic increase in diagnosis, there are now two drugs available that are helping to cure many more people than was previously possible.
So the CDC is advising that anyone born from 1945 to 1965 should get a one-time blood test to see if they have the liver-destroying virus, the CDC said in draft recommendations issued Friday.
Bed-Stuy baby boomers: Do you know anyone close to you that has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C? And have you gotten tested yet?