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Drug epidemic increases Hepatitis C cases in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. - Acute Hepatitis C cases have skyrocketed in Wisconsin, increasing 450 percent from 2011 to 2015.

State health officials tell Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2pGibwl ) that most infections resulted from injection drug use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages needle exchanges as a way to thwart drug addicts from spreading disease.

The agency released its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report Thursday, looking at whether states promote or prevent access to clean needles. It shows Wisconsin law excludes needles and syringes from drug paraphernalia laws.

The report also looks at whether states permit the retail sale of syringes without a prescription. Wisconsin doesn't have a law prohibiting over-the-counter sales, but some stores don't allow them.

The report says Wisconsin's laws aren't as comprehensive as states such as Maine, Nevada and Utah, which have fewer barriers to needle exchange programs.


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