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Hepatitis C cases on rise in northeast Indiana, Allen County proposes needle-exchange program

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (October 6, 2015) — Officials in northeastern Indiana’s Allen County have taken a first step toward creating a needle exchange to combat the county’s growing hepatitis C cases.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health unanimously approved a resolution Monday calling for a needle-exchange program to slow the spread of the disease among intravenous drug users.

Allen County has had about 270 new hepatitis C cases during the first nine months of 2015. That’s more than in any of the past three years.

The Journal Gazette reports the health department must next hold a public hearing and get support from elected local officials for the needle-exchange proposal.

Needle-exchange requests need the approval of Indiana’s health commissioner under a law passed in response to an HIV outbreak among IV drug users in southeastern Indiana.

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