Hepatitis C blood tests suggested for baby boomers

All baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis C, U.S. health officials recommend.

1 in 30 people born between 1945-1965 in North America believed to have the virus

Singer Natalie Cole, who has chronic hepatitis C, has encouraged people to talk to their doctor about testing and treatment. (Kevin Wolf/Associated Press for TuneInToHepC.com)

All baby boomers — people born between 1945 and 1965 — should get tested for hepatitis C, U.S. health officials recommend. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released draft recommendations Friday suggesting that Americans aged 47 to 67 get a blood test at least once for the liver infection.

Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through infected needles.

Chronic infection can cause inflammation of the liver, scarring of the organ, cirrhosis and other complications, including liver cancer.

In March, a Canadian liver specialist said he's seeing increasing numbers of people with hepatitis C.

Some experimented with drugs as teenagers in the 1960s, were unknowingly infected and are now developing liver failure.

The CDC said it believes routine testing will address preventable consequences of the disease now that expensive new treatments are available.

The U.S. testing recommendation is expected to become final later this year.

Saturday is the first hepatitis testing day in the U.S., CDC said on its website.

With files from The Associated Press