Hepatitis-C Linked to Almost One-Fourth of State Prison Deaths in 2008

In looking at records on deaths in state prisons last year for our post about the homicides, we couldn't help but notice the large number of Hepatitis-C-related deaths among prisoners.

Arizona Department of Corrections records show 75 natural-cause deaths, three suicides, two homicides and fourteen "pending" cases of 2008 prisoner deaths.

Of the deaths due to natural causes, 17 showed that Hepatitis-C complications were either the reason for death or a major factor. That calculates to a eyebrow-raising 23 percent.

Believe it or not, though, that figure isn't too high when compared with national rates of Hep-C among prisoners: Between 12 and 31 percent of U.S. prisoners are believed to be infected, according to an October article in sciencedaily.com.

There are so many cases of the liver-destroying disease, apparently, because prisoners love to shoot drugs -- and have access to the drugs and needles.

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