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Hepatitis C Epidemic Erodes a Village’s Reputation for Longevity

By Tanner Brown / Aug 19, 2019 09:51 AM / Society & Culture

Photo: Caixin

Photo: Caixin

At the foot of a mountain covered in green and surrounded by farmland, Dashuidong village in central China’s Hunan province has long been known for longevity endowed by nature. But nowadays, simply staying healthy has become a distant dream for many in the village.

Dashuidong, in Fuqiushan county, has been haunted by the highly contagious Hepatitis C virus (HCV) over the past decade. Along with two neighboring towns — Huangheqiao and Tanshanqian — the mountain villages are now notorious as Hepatitis C villages, keeping people away.

There are no accurate statistics on villagers infected by the virus because of people’s lack of awareness of early symptoms and unwillingness to report and because of frequent outflows of young people seeking urban jobs. Several villagers in Dashuidong told Caixin they think 30% to 40% of the 3,000 people there have been infected with HCV. A local disease control official said the actual figure couldn’t be that high, but he said about 2.8% of the 55,000 people in Fuqiudong county have been diagnosed with HCV infection, nearly triple the national average of 1%.

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