The number of people infected with Hepatitis C is on the rise in Sudbury — and is quickly becoming commonplace, a city agency says.

The virus, which attacks the liver and can go undetected for years, is usually spread by sharing needles. But it can also be contracted by sharing personal items like razors, nail clippers, or even a toothbrush.

A spokesperson with Riseau Access Network said many people are going undiagnosed with the liver disease until they're more than 50 years of age.

Camille Lavoie, a treatment nurse with Riseau Access Network, said being treated later in life can be fatal.

"We don't want to catch someone at 65, and at that point they're cirrhotic and we can't treat them anymore," she said.

And people should get tested — because she said the city has one of the highest Hepatitis C rates in the province.

An 'achy liver'

Ray Landry, a counsellor with Riseau Access Network, said people need to get tested now — especially boomers.

"Our rate of infection in Sudbury is trending just below the epidemic level," he said.

The agency supports people dealing with the disease — people like Suzanne LaCroix, who was diagnosed with Hepatitis C shortly after she was infected from years of injection drug use.

"I had [an] achy liver," she said.

"You know how you have a tooth ache or a head ache? You feel that in your liver … kind of a throb, [or] ache."

On average, 4,000 people in Ontario are diagnosed with Hepatitis C each year.