The Iowa Department of Public Health is calling for widespread testing for hepatitis C after a study showed cases in Iowa have almost tripled since 2000.

Data shows the number of Iowans diagnosed with the hepatitis C virus increased from 754 in 2000 to 2,235 in 2015, a press release from department stated. The number of diagnoses among Iowans between 18 and 30 years old more than quadrupled since 2009, with 303 cases alone in 2015.

After taking into account traditional risk factors they found that there were too many cases without an explanation.

“Many of them didn’t have any of those conventional risk factors,” he said. “We don’t know why they came down with the virus.”

And simply watching for symptoms isn’t enough.

“A lot of these people aren’t symptomatic,” said Stacey Tams, director of practice operations at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Council Bluffs.

Added Mukherjee: “Most people with chronic hepatitis C don’t even know they have it.”

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