Hepatitis C transmission and Prevention

hepatitis Hepatitis C transmission is basically through blood and blood products. Caused by the Hepatitis C virus, Hepatitis C transmission is very discrete in such a way that you won't know you contracted the disease until signs and symptoms start to manifest and there is already severe liver damage. Hepatitis C like any other types of Hepatitis, there is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is among the most serious types of Hepatitis that it can cause life threatening conditions like liver failure. Although Hepatitis C transmission is via blood and related products, this transmission is done in many ways including:

  • Blood Transfusion. Before 1992, blood tests before blood donation do not include screening for the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C transmission was so high due to undetected Hepatitis C virus present in blood available in blood banks and from blood donors. Other blood products involved were packed RBCs and platelets.
  • Accidents with needles and syringes. When not handled properly by health workers, needles and syringes used with Hepatitis C patients can cause Hepatitis C transmission to them. This usually happens when they are recapping the needles and other connectors used in IV infusions.
  • Needle sharing of drug abusers. Of the total cases of Hepatitis C in the United States this mode of Hepatitis C transmission is accountable for all 66% cases. Sterile techniques are not practiced by drug users as they altogether share the same syringe and needle when injecting drugs.
  • Tattooing and body piercing. Hepatitis C transmission is also high via unsterilized needles used in these body procedures.
  • Sexual intercourse. Although rare, there are some records of Hepatitis C due to sexual contact as Hepatitis C transmission. Having multiple sexual partners give increased risk for acquiring the disease.
  • Mother to fetus transmission. Children born to mothers with Hepatitis C have increased risk of contracting the disease.
  • Sharing personal items. Personal care items like toothbrush, razor, and nail cutters can promote contact with blood of an infected Hepatitis C patient

Avoiding possible ways of Hepatitis C transmission is the best preventive method. It can be
done by:

  • Strict blood and organ screening for blood and organ donors. After 1992, blood tests for blood donors include detection for the Hepatitis C virus. It decreased the incidence of hepatitis C transmission via blood and blood products transfusion. Same is true with organ donations.
  • Safe practices for health workers on sharp objects like needles. There are safe techniques to recap needles like the fishing technique and some needles are self-recapping to reduce accidents.
  • Do not share personal care items like toothbrush, razors, and nail cutters.
  • Practice safe sex. Transmission via sexual contact can be prevented by maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship and use of barriers like condoms.
  • Hospitals, clinics, and other health institutions must be very critical on maintaining sterile techniques. Syringes, needles, and connectors are directed to be disposable and not to be shared by patients. Adhering to the disposability of these objects significantly reduces Hepatitis C transmission that occurs in hospitals and clinics.

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