News in Brief

Issue 3 and Volume 153.

130 Philadelphia firefighters test positive for Hepatitis C The Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department is looking for answers that will explain why 130 (six percent) of its members have tested positive for Hepatitis C, more than three times the incidence rate of the general population. Two firefighters have already died; some are seriously ill, and others have shown no signs of having the illness. Hepatitis C, which often is fatal, has been called the greatest public health threat of the 21st century because most people often are not aware that they are infected until it is too late. The affected firefighters believe they may have contracted the disease in the line of duty, but former Mayor Ed Rendell and Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston say the firefighters union hasn’t produced any evidence to back up this claim. The current mayor, John Street, says he wants more information before he can determine what…

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