2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:2T-5 - Findings, declarations relative to Hepatitis C.
26:2T-5 Findings, declarations relative to Hepatitis C.
1.The Legislature finds and declares that:
a.Hepatitis C is a silent killer, being largely asymptomatic until irreversible liver damage may have occurred;
b.Hepatitis C has been characterized by the World Health Organization as a disease of primary concern to humanity;
c.Hepatitis C currently infects approximately 4.5 million persons in the United States; and each year, there are some 30,000 new infections nationwide;
d.The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 12,000 persons die annually from the consequences of hepatitis C, and this number continues to grow each year;
e.It is estimated that approximately 200,000 New Jersey citizens are infected with hepatitis C;
f.The disease is considered to be such a public health threat that the United States Department of Health and Human Services has initiated a comprehensive plan to address this significant health problem, beginning with the identification of, and notification to, hundreds of thousands of persons who were inadvertently exposed to hepatitis C through blood transfusions;
g.In the absence of a vaccine for hepatitis C, emphasis must be placed on other means of awareness and prevention of this disease, including, but not limited to, education of persons at high risk for hepatitis C as defined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor, including but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, firefighters, including volunteers, health care workers, emergency services personnel, employees of the State's developmental centers and the general public; and
h.New Jersey has established itself at the forefront of the fight against hepatitis C by becoming the first State in the nation to establish a comprehensive awareness program pursuant to P.L.1998, c.116 (C.26:2T-1 et seq.), and through the enactment of this act will ensure an optimal approach to controlling this lethal disease.
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