KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Michelle learned she had contracted Hepatitis C from intravenous drug use, she remembered precisely how it happened.
“It was an accident,” said Michelle, who asked that FOX4 not publish her last name. “The used needle got mixed up with the new one, and it just happened. That’s how I ended up getting Hep C.”
Drug users and experts in the medical field say tracking new cases of Hepatitis C can be difficult because many addicts infected will never seek medical attention.
“Three-fourths of the people that use have Hep C, I’m sure,” Michelle said.
Health advocates voiced concern over rates of undiagnosed cases of Hepatitis C after yet another discarded needle recently turned up in a Kansas City neighborhood.
On Wednesday, Diane Euston disposed of a used needle and rubber tourniquet from a residential street just south of Waldo.
“We’re only a block and a half from an elementary school and three blocks from a high school,” she said.
One resource many drug addicts, like Michelle, are using to address the issue is the needle exchange program at KC Care Health Center in Midtown.
If you come across drug paraphernalia on your property, experts say don’t touch it. Call 311 or your local health department first for help to properly dispose of it.