A newly released report by the Washington State Department of Health indicates that more than 90,000 people in the state are likely infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The report describes the scale of the problem and provides recommendations for future action in the areas of prevention, testing, and treatment for HCV infections. Each year, there are about 550 hospitalizations in the state for those with HCV, with expenses totaling more than $22 million. There are also more than 200 liver and bile duct cancers and 600 deaths in Washington every year linked to HCV. "Hepatitis C is an alarming epidemic of our time," says State Epidemiologist Scott Lindquist, MD. "We have an obligation to address hepatitis C by urging screening and the use of medications to treat the disease." The recent spread of HCV is occurring among younger people, mostly through sharing needles and other equipment used for injecting drugs.