Showing posts with label HCV transmission FAQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HCV transmission FAQ. Show all posts

Saturday, September 23, 2017

27 Viruses Can Be Found In Semen - What About The Hepatitis C Virus?

NPR today published an article that indicates some 27 viruses can be found in semen, according to a report in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The research letter is available over at the CDC's website: The Breadth of Viruses in Human Semen.

The hepatitis C virus was included in the list of 27 viruses, as it should be, however, many of the viruses were lacking data on risk of sexual transmission. Experts believe that sexual transmission of HCV is low among monogamous heterosexual couples, as reported in this 2013 study and cited in the above mentioned list.

Listen to Drs. Stephen A. Harrison and Norah A. Terrault discuss the 2013 HCV partners study, available on the AASLD website.

Recommended Reading

September 13, 2017
Researchers identify 27 viruses that can persist in semen
“Given these findings, the following questions need to be addressed: which viruses are shed and remain viable in semen, for how long, and at what concentrations? The answers to these questions have implications for risks for sexual transmission and, therefore, embryonic infection, congenital disease, miscarriage, and effects on epidemiologic transmission models,” the researchers wrote.
Read the article at Healio, free registration may be required.

Last update: Reviewed September 2017
Sexual Transmission Of HCV
According to AASLD IDSA HCV Guidance:
Persons with HIV infection and those with multiple sexual partners or sexually transmitted infections should be encouraged to use barrier precautions to prevent sexual transmission. Other persons with HCV infection should be counseled that the risk of sexual transmission is low and may not warrant barrier protection.
Continue reading...

Last Updated: Sep 8, 2017
Hepatitis C Transmission
Risk of transmission of HCV is possible but rare when a non-infected person comes in sexual contact with a person with HCV. Less than 1% per year of a relationship risk exists due to sexual transmission of HCV. The rates however rise significantly if the infected partner has a co-infection with HIV as well.
Continue reading....

September 23, 2017
Here is the article published today over at NPR.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hey Can I Get Hepatitis C From......

Aug 2012
Reuters-All baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis C -CDC
All baby boomers should be tested for the hepatitis C virus, U.S. health officials said on Thursday, citing studies suggesting more than 2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1965 may be infected with the liver-destroying virus
Continue Reading....

Part One: Hey Can I Get Hepatitis C From...............
Q: How is the hepatitis C virus (HCV) spread from one person to another?

A: It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. The most common way people get hepatitis C is by sharing injection drug equipment, including needles, cookers, water, and cotton. There is a small risk of transmission during sex. Some people contracted Hepatitis C through blood transfusions before 1992. Tattoos and body piercings done with contaminated needles can spread hepatitis C. If a pregnant woman has hepatitis C, there is a small chance her baby may be born with it. Sharing razors, nail clippers, and toothbrushes may also spread the virus. The hepatitis C virus is not spread by sweat, tears, or urine. You cannot get it through casual contact, food, water, sneezing, coughing, or breathing air.

Should I be tested if my spouse has hepatitis C? What protection should I use if my spouse has the virus?

A: Sexual transmission studies are still ongoing. Because hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, it is not easily transmitted through sex. There are still some questions as to whether or not the virus is transmitted through semen.

If you and your spouse are having anal sex, you may increase your chances of transmitting the virus if bleeding occurs.

For your best protection, we suggest maintaining a monogamous relationship with your spouse.

 Q: How soon after exposure to hepatitis C do symptoms appear?

A: If symptoms occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. However, many people infected with the hepatitis C virus do not develop symptoms.

Q: Can a person spread hepatitis C without having symptoms?

A: Yes, even if a person with hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.

Q: I have been hep c positive for 5 years. Now I have a 17 month old child. What are the chances I have passed this on to my child either during pregnancy or birth?

A: The risk of hepatitis C transmission from mother-to-child at the time of birth is low, but transmission can occur in this way.

In women with hepatitis C, the overall risk of transmission from mother to child appears to be approximately 5%. In women who have both hepatitis C and HIV, the risk of transmission of the hepatitis C virus goes up to about 19%.

Q; I have been having sex with a man since January. He has Hep C. I thought that it was NOT passed through sex; however, I was told today by a friend that she was told to go get tested b/c of having sex with someone infected. The man I am sleeping with had the interferon treatment years ago. He also told me that it's "not dangerous to me". I am wondering if this is true now. Do I need to go get tested? Please help!!

A:Yes, it is recommended to be tested, however, sexual contact, whether it is genital, oral, or anal, appears to be an extremely inefficient means of HCV transmission. In fact, many studies evaluating this route of transmission have failed to detect the presence of HCV in either the saliva, semen, or urine of HCV-infected people—except when these body fluids have been contaminated by the person's blood. However, it is important to emphasize that HCV has the potential to be transmitted through intimate contact if there are breaks in the skin or in the lining of the mouth, vagina, or anus. This may occur for a variety of reasons including the presence of active, bleeding herpes sores; an inflamed and infected prostate gland, known as prostatitis; or as a result of traumatic or rough sex, especially anal intercourse.HCV has been detected with greater-than-average frequency among people who have a history of sexual promiscuity. While there is no exact definition for sexual promiscuity, one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine defines it as a "history of a sexually transmitted disease, sex with a prostitute, more than five sexual partners per year, or a combination of these." Of interest is that it appears to be easier for a man to transmit HCV to a woman than vice versa.A person who is in a long-term monogamous relationship with an HCV-infected person rarely contracts this virus. Only approximately 2 percent (a range of 0 to 6 percent) of sexual partners of HCV-infected people also test positive for HCV. However, it is important to note that this statistic is based on indirect evidence only. Therefore, whether these people became infected through a sexual act or by another route is unclear. For example, people in long-standing relationships generally care for one another in times of illness or injury. During such times, HCV may be transmitted to the spouse or partner as blood-barrier precautions may not always be taken into consideration—even among the most cautious of couples.

Q: I have some friends who are IV drug users and they told me that you can get Hep C from your own needle nobody else has ever used before if you don’t bleach it before reusing it or if it gets rusty. This didn’t sound right to me, but since I know nothing of their hobby I said nothing. Is this true?

A: You are correct and your IV drug-using buddies are wrong. Hep C is a virus -- and a highly contagious one -- but it belongs to the family of blood-borne pathogens. It can only spread through blood-to-blood contact. But when it comes to actual blood-to-blood contact, how much blood is needed? According to the World Health Organization, very little. Viruses are crazy-small, so a boatload of them can be found in even the smallest droplets of blood. But the virus doesn’t come out of thin air, so if you don’t have Hep C and you are the only one that uses — and reuses — a syringe, there is no way to “catch” Hep C from it. Rusty or not.

You might, however, catch something else from your personal rusty needle. More on that in a minute. But let’s finish up with hepatitis C first.

Hep C is a liver disease. It can trigger cirrhosis and sometimes lead to liver cancer. Globally, 71 million people are living with chronic hepatitis C, with 399,000 people dying annually from the disease.

The good news, at least for people living in “first world” nations, is that the latest antiviral meds have a cure rate of more than 95% with greatly reduced side effects compared to the meds used just a few short years ago. That said, in my opinion, not getting Hep C is still the best bet.

But if you still want to get in on the action, the easiest way to get Hep C is by using a “dirty” needle that someone who already has Hep C has used. In this case, what you’d be doing is actually injecting a small quantity of another user’s blood into your body, basically main-lining the virus right into you. For what it’s worth, the classic “dirty” needle can actually look sparkly clean to the naked eye, but still contain more than enough Hep C virus in micro droplets of blood to infect the next person who uses it. And the person after that.

For longer than you’d think.
Hep C is described as a “hardy” virus, and studies are mixed about the effectives of the bleach your buddies mentioned in killing it. Apparently it can live up to 63 days in a used syringe. Tough little sons of bitches.

Oh, and you can also catch Hep C through unscreened blood transfusions, from organ transplants before 1992, contaminated medical equipment, dirty tattoo or piercing parlors, and less commonly, though sex—depending on the kind of sex you enjoy. Scientists have studied sex and Hep C extensively—and why wouldn’t you if you could get a grant to do it?—and have discovered that heterosexual transmission of Hep C is rare.

How rare?
About 1 in 190,000 shags, although the risk goes up the more sex partners you have and the rougher you like your sex.

Boy-on-boy contact, by comparison, has been described as “far more efficient” when it comes to transmitting the virus. Although I couldn’t find a per sex act rate to help you judge your risk, Hep C in bi and gay men is being described as an epidemic.

So much for how you can get it. How can you not get it? Well, you can’t get Hep C by kissing someone who has it -- the virus lives in blood, not saliva -- or through food, water, or even breast milk. Or, as we said, from thin air on needles you only use yourself.

One of the challenges of Hep C, from the public health perspective, is that as many as 80% of people infected don’t develop any definitive symptoms, so they have no way to know they have it until liver damage shows up many years later. Of course, that doesn’t stop the virus from being spread from the unsuspecting victim to others in the meantime.

But back to your rusty needle. It is possible to get tetanus from one of those. Unlike Hep C, which is a virus, tetanus is a bacterial infection. Tetanus is serious shit. It affects nerves, triggering muscle contractions in the jaw and neck, hence it’s common name: Lockjaw. Untreated, it can kill you. For those morbid members of the crowd, it does this by suffocation. Those muscle contractions get so bad that they block the ability to breathe. It’s not curable, but it is preventable by a vaccine, which is only good for about 10 years, so you might want to consider a booster if it’s been a while since your last vaccination.

The tetanus germs, technically called Clostridium tetani, usually live in soil, dust, and animal feces, which is why stepping on an old nail at a construction site on a ranch is the classic way to get exposed. That said, according to the Mayo Clinic you can also catch tetanus from injection drug use (along with gunshot wounds, apparently).

So your IV drug-using buddies could be right about catching something from rusty syringes. They just had the wrong disease.
Read more here.....

Q: Is it possible for HIV and hepatitis C to be transmitted at the same time?

A: Both hepatitis C and HIV are blood-borne viruses - so both viruses can indeed be transmitted at the same time if one is exposed to the blood of someone who is currently infected with both viruses.

Q: Can you get hep C from the blood product albumin?

A: The blood product albumin is manufactured by pooling that portion of the blood from many donors. Since 1992, when a reliable test for hepatitis C was introduced, all blood and blood products are now screened for hepatitis C. While there is currently a very remote risk of transmission of hepatitis C from receiving blood products such as albumin, it is highly unlikely. However, anyone receiving blood products prior to 1992 should be tested for hepatitis C since the blood supply was not able to be screened for the virus at that time.

Q: I have been sharing utensils, drinking out of the same straws, etc. with someone who has been diagnosed with HCV. Can HCV be transmitted through sharing eating utensils?

A: Hepatitis C is transmitted only through blood-to-blood contact. This means that the blood of someone who is infected with the hepatitis C virus has to come into contact with the blood of someone else for transmission of the virus to occur.
The hepatitis C virus is not transmitted by sharing eating utensils or dishes.

Q: Can HCV be spread during medical or dental procedures?

A: As long as Standard Precautions and other infection control practices are used consistently, medical and dental procedures performed in the United States generally do not pose a risk for the spread of HCV. However, HCV has been spread in healthcare settings when injection equipment, such as syringes, was shared between patients or when injectable medications or intravenous solutions were mishandled and became contaminated with blood. Healthcare personnel should understand and adhere to Standard Precautions, which includes safe injection practices and other guidance aimed at reducing bloodborne pathogen risks for patients and healthcare personnel. If healthcare-associated HCV infection is suspected, this should be reported to state and local public health authorities.

Q: Is it safe to have sex with someone who has hepatitis C?

A: Hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually, though overall, such transmission is uncommon. Since hepatitis C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, sexual contact that involves blood-to-blood exposure is higher risk.

The Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program promotes the use of safer sex practices to prevent the transmission of not only hepatitis C, but also other sexually transmitted diseases.

Can you get hepatitis C by getting a tattoo or piercing?

A few major research studies have not shown hepatitis C to be spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities. However, transmission of hepatitis C (and other infectious diseases) is possible when poor infection-control practices are used during tattooing or piercing. Body art is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and unregulated tattooing and piercing are known to occur in prisons and other informal or unregulated settings. Further research is needed to determine if these types of settings and exposures are responsible for hepatitis C virus transmission.

Can hepatitis C be spread within a household?

Yes, but this does not occur very often. If hepatitis C virus is spread within a household, it is most likely a result of direct, through-the-skin exposure to the blood of an infected household member.

Source - The prevalence of HCV among household contacts of people with HCV infection is low. Moreover, the study of HCV transmission among household contacts is complicated by the difficulty in ruling out other possible modes of acquisition. Many of the studies include a small number of nonsexual contacts, and often include children born to mothers with HCV infection. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether nonsexual, non-blood contact is a route of transmission for HCV.

Q: I have herpes. I had sex someone who has Hep C. It was unprotected. Does that mean I have the virus?

A: The risk of transmission of hepatitis C through sexual intercourse is increased when a sexually transmitted disease is present. The only way to know if you've been infected with hepatitis C is to be tested.

Q: If someone has hep c and gets in a public pool, can other people swimming in the pool get infected with hepatitis C?

A: Hepatitis C is not transmitted by swimming in a public pool with someone who has hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact.

Q: I am a police officer and recently investigated a deceased person who had hep C. Although I did not touch the victim, he had a significant amount of blood on his body. My question is if I was inside of the victim's residence for several hours, did I run the risk of exposing myself to getting hep C just by breathing in the air from the victim's house?

A: Hepatitis C is not spread by inhaling the virus. It is spread by blood-to-blood contact. The situation you describe poses no risk of hepatitis C transmission. But always be sure in your ongoing police work that you protect yourself from hepatitis C (and other blood-borne pathogens) by using universal precautions if you are in a situation where blood may get on your hands or in your eyes. Wear gloves and protective goggles

Q- My sister said she has no idea how she contracted hepatitis c, is that true?

A- No Identifiable Source of Infection-Source
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injection drug use accounts for approximately 60% of all HCV infections in the United States, while other known exposures account for 20-30%. Approximately 10% of patients in most epidemiological studies, however, have no identifiable source of infection. HCV exposure in these patients may be from a number of uncommon modes of transmission, including vertical transmission, and parenteral transmission from medical or dental procedures prior to the availability of HCV testing. There are no conclusive data to show that persons with a history of exposures such as intranasal cocaine use, tattooing or body piercing are at an increased risk for HCV infection based on these exposures solely. It is believed, however, that these are potential modes of HCV acquisition in the absence of adequate sterilization techniques.

Q: I am a nurse who has recently been diagnosed with Hep C. I am very careful with needles, use precautions and do not know how I could have got infected with this disease. Now I am wondering if I have to quit my job because I will be passing it on to my patients. Is it possible to work as a nurse with this diagnosis?

A: This is a very tough spot for you to be in, I'm sure. There are many aspects to consider in your situation. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides some employment protections for those with hepatitis C, there are grey areas depending upon what type of duties you typically perform and whether "reasonable accommodations" are possible without presenting undue risks to others. I am not a legal expert, so my comments here are limited. One suggestion would be to talk with your nursing supervisor. Depending on where you work, your human resources department may also be able to assist you in deciding how to handle your situation. Your state and/or local nursing professional organization is another possible resource. In your note, I sense a strong altruistic commitment to your work. Perhaps your duties can be changed such that there is no possibility of accidental exposures for patients such as health education or infection control oversight. I wish you the best as you look for a way to both take care of your own health needs and those of others.

Q: I was told by a nurse that someone could get hep C from another person if they share toothbrushes. Is this true?

A: This is a true statement. People's gums often bleed when they brush their teeth, so sharing toothbrushes can create blood-to-blood contact that may lead to the transmission of hepatitis C. Everyone should have his/her own toothbrush and only use that toothbrush.

Can you catch hepatitis C by sharing makeup?

A: Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Sharing makeup may not be a good idea for other reasons, but it is not a means for HCV transmission.

Q: My father-in-law has hep C. He shares everything he eats and drinks with my daughter. Is she at risk?

A: Hepatitis C is not contracted through food or drink. It is contracted by blood-to-blood contact. Your daughter is not at risk of contracting hepatitis C from her grandfather in this manner.

Q: I had eaten a hamburger and found out I have hepatitis C. Can hepatitis C be contracted from eating bad meat?

A: You cannot get hepatitis C from eating contaminated food. Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood contact.

Q: What products can I buy to kill the traces of hepatitis c in my home to prevent my family members from becoming infected?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend diluted bleach to clean up any blood spills to prevent possible transmission of HCV. For example, mix 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach with 5 cups of water. When cleaning up a blood spill, you should wear protective safety gloves. Remember, hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Casual household contact such as eating together, cooking together, and playing together does not present a risk for noninfected members of the household.

Q: I have tested negative for HCV antibodies at 22 and 34 weeks post sexual exposure. Can I be sure I am not infected?

A: The hepatitis C virus is not commonly transmitted through sexual contact, though it can occur. Most vast majority of people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus develop antibodies within the first 6 months. Given that your exposure was through sexual contact and that you have tested negative for HCV antibodies twice more than 6 months from the exposure, the chance that you have the virus is extremely remote. If you want additional reassurance, you can repeat the antibody test again at 12 months post exposure and/or have a molecular test for the virus itself (an HCV PCR test).

Q: I had two abortions in the 70's and am wondering if this may be a possible source of exposure to the hepatitis C virus. Were the procedures in place then adequate to protect from HCV exposure?

A: If good sanitation and sterilization procedures were being practiced, there should have been no blood contamination on the instruments from one person to another. However, if these procedures were not being followed, or if an abortion was performed outside of a health care setting, then the potential for exposure to hepatitis C could be present. If in doubt, ask your doctor for a hepatitis C screening test.

Q: I am a nurse who was accidentally splashed with urine from a patient with HCV. What is my risk?

A: I am not aware of any document cases of hepatitis C transmission through contact with urine. Hepatitis C is contracted through blood-to-blood exposure.

Q: If you have a baby, but the mother is not infected with Hep C only the father is, what is the chances of the baby getting hep C?

A: If the mother does not have hepatitis C, a baby is not at risk of hepatitis C from an infected father at the time the baby is conceived, while it is in the womb, or at the time of birth.

After the birth of the baby, care should be taken to ensure that the baby does not have any accidental contact with the father's blood. As long as there is no blood-to-blood contact between the baby and the father, there is no risk to the baby.

Hepatitis C is not transmitted by hugging, kissing, or any other form of casual household contact

Q: Can dry blood transmit Hep C?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the hepatitis C virus can survive on environmental surfaces outside the body at room temperature for at least 16 hours but no more than 4 days. So yes, within this time frame and under specific conditions, dry blood that contains the hepatitis C virus can be a source of infection if there is blood-to-blood contact.

Q: How long can blood be contagious out of the body with HCV?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the hepatitis C virus can survive on environmental surfaces outside the body at room temperature for at least 16 hours but no more than 4 days. Therefore, blood that is infected with the hepatitis C virus can still be contagious if there is blood-to-blood contact within this time frame.

We usually think of Hepatitis C as a virus that is passed from person to person. However, most infections occur via an intermediary, inanimate object. Thus, determining the length of time Hepatitis C can survive outside the body is crucial to prevent transmission of this virus. 

Q: I am a male considering a relationship with a woman who has informed me that she is living with hepatitis C. I have not had any vaccinations against any form of hepatitis. Let us assume that we would be monogamous. I want to know of the risks of transmission - and what increases and decreases these risks? What are the risks of transmission in fellatio, cunnilingus, vaginal intercourse, and anal intercourse?

A: First things first: if you have not been vaccinated against hepatitis B, it is best for you (as a sexually active adult male) to begin that vaccine series. If you have not had hepatitis A, you can be vaccinated for both hepatitis A and B at the same time.

Now, on to your questions. Overall, the risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C in a long-term, monogamous relationship is low (reported at anywhere from less than 1% up to 5% depending upon the study and the study parameters). However, that said, perhaps a more useful response to your question is to say that hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood exposure. Sexual practices that involve blood-to-blood exposure are therefore logically more risky (in terms of possible transmission of the virus) than those that do not. Oral sex (whether fellatio or cunnilingus) does not appear to pose a risk for transmission of hepatitis C based on all currently available evidence.

Q: My wife testing HCV positive one year after we were married. I was then tested but my test was negative. My wife uses my shaving machine and I am worried I may have gotten the virus in this way. Please help.

A: Since the hepatitis C virus is spread by blood to blood contact, and shaving equipment is likely to contaminated with blood from small nicks (and can cause small nicks in the skin), shaving equipment should never be shared.

I would advise you and your wife not to share shaving equipment, and that you be tested again in another 4 to 6 months to be sure you have not been infected by this route. I urge you and your wife to talk with your doctor together to discuss other possible sources of exposure and what measures are best to prevent you from becoming infected. And remember - hepatitis C is a condition many married couples live with. It can be challenging, but many couples have found ways to both be safe and have a happy, fulfilling marriage.

Q: Can you get hepatitis C from body fluids other than blood?

A: The United States Public Health Service states that, "In addition to blood and body fluids containing visible blood, semen and vaginal secretions also are considered potentially infectious. The following fluids also are considered potentially infectious: cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid. The risk for transmission of HBV, HCV, and HIV infection from these fluids is unknown. The potential risk from occupational exposures has not been assessed by epidemiologic studies in health-care settings. Feces, nasal secretions, saliva, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, and vomitus are not considered potentially infectious unless they contain blood. The risk for transmission of HCV (along with HBV and HIV) from these fluids and materials is extremely low."

Q: What are the chances of getting hepatitis C from a blood splatter?

A: Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus, so blood spatter from an infected person that comes into contact with an open wound, or mucous membrane (e.g., the blood splashed into the eye) can potentially lead to transmission of the virus. However, the risk of transmission of the hepatitis C virus by this route appears to be rather low (estimated anywhere from less than 1% to approximately 7%).

Q: I went to a restaurant recently and when the lady was preparing a salad for me, she wiped down the bowl they use to mix the salad with a cloth. My question is what if the cloth had blood on it from one of them and it was transferred onto the bowl which had my salad prepared in would I catch hep c this way?

A: Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact only. It is not trasmitted by ingesting contaminated food.

While there are many other reasons why you might be concerned about a lack of cleanliness at your local restaurant, getting hepatitis C from the food is not an issue.

Q: I recently found out my kitchen hand (also friend) has hepatitis C. She often cuts herself and is quick to bandaid and glove her hand. Can the unseen blood residue on the container be contagious if soneone else's open wound touches it? How long can the blood remain contagious out of the body?

A: The best way to clean up blood is to use a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). This will inactivate any residual hepatitis C particles (or other blood-borne pathogens) that may be left on the surface.

Q: Can you get hepatitis C working with a patient that has this disease? For example, I had a small cut on my finger and I put the bedpan under a patient with hepatitis C and rubbed my finger on her bedding accidently. Can I get hepatitis C that way?

A: Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact only. Unless the cut on your finger was open and the sheets had your patient's blood on them, there is no risk of contracting hepatitis C in the manner you described. Remember, however, that health care workers should always protect themselves from all blood-borne pathogens by using universal precautions when coming into contact with body fluids.

Q: I was wondering how much blood would have to be transfered for someone to contract hepatitis C ?

A: There's no set amount of blood that is sure to transmit hepatitis C. However, in general, the larger the quantity of blood containing the hepatitis C virus one is exposed to, the greater the risk of being infected with the virus.

Q: Can you get it from someone else if you share a smoke with them?

A: Hepatitis C is transmitted only through blood-to-blood contact. So no, you cannot get hepatitis C from someone by sharing a smoke with him/her.

Q: My 8 month old nephew tested positive for hepatitis C. His mother just found out she has hepatitis C and they say she gave it to him at birth. What will happen to the baby?

A: Testing babies for hepatitis C can be rather tricky because when the mother has hepatitis C, she passes the antibodies to the baby, and those antibodies can still be in the baby's blood for 8 months to a year after birth. If your nephew was given a hepatitis C antibody test, it is possible that his mother's antibodies were what caused his test to be positive. The only way to tell for sure if an 8-month old has hepatitis C is to test his blood for the virus itself. This test is called by several different names including viral load and PCR. You may want to double check with the doctor that ran the test to be sure your nephew was tested for the virus itself and not the antibody. If your nephew does have hepatitis C, his mother will need to talk with his pediatrician about having him followed as he grows to monitor him for signs of liver damage. If this occurs, there are treatments available that clear the virus in about half of those treated. Try to take a deep breath and check with the doctor about the test that was done on the baby - and then take the next steps. Good luck to you, the mom, and this little one.

Q: My son bit the finger of someone with hepatitis C. Is he at risk?

A: Since hepatitis C is not transmitted by ingesting it (swallowing it), your son would not be at risk of contracting hepatitis C from the person he bit even if he bit the person hard enough to draw blood.

Q: Can you get hepatitis C from a cat scratch. If a cat scratches someone with hepatitis C can it be given to someone else living in the house that is scratched by the cat?

A: There has never been a reported case of hepatitis C being passed via a cat scratch. I cannot say it is impossible if there were a significant amount of blood involved and the scratches were deep - but it is my opinion that it would be highly unlikely to be infected with the hepatitis C virus is this way.

Q: Is is possible that you can pass on hep C via bath water?

A: The hepatitis C virus is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. It is not transmitted through bath water.

Q: My husband has hepatitis c and my children and I don't. Our plumbing is backed up and my husband is really scared that we might contract hepatitis C. Are we at greater risk just by breathing it?

A: Hepatitis C is not transmitted by inhaling it. It is also not transmitted by exposure to fecal material. Your plumbing problem does not put you or your children at risk of contracting hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is contracted by blood-to-blood contact only.

Q: Can you get hepatitis C from changing someone that had a bowel movement?

A: Unlike hepatitis A, hepatitis C is NOT transmitted by what is known as "the fecal-oral route." For other reasons, you want to be sure you wash your hands whenever coming in to contact with fecal material, but hepatitis C is not transmitted this way.

Q: Does proper handwashing help prevent the spread of hepatitis C? Does hand sanitizer help?

: Since hepatitis C is not transmitted by ingesting it, hand washing is not a way to prevent the disease. Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact only.

Q: If you open mouth kiss a person with hepatitis C, can you get the disease?

A: There is no evidence to suggest that hepatitis C can be spread by open mouth kissing.
The hepatitis C virus is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact.

Q: Can hepatitis C be transferred to an unborn child?

A: There is a risk of hepatitis C transmission from mother with hepatitis C to her unborn child at the time of birth. The risk is about 4 in 100 or 4%. However, the risk is significantly higher (about 19%) if the mother is infected with both hepatitis C and HIV.

There is currently no treatment to prevent these infections from occurring.

Q: I belong to a kickboxing club for women, and one of our new members has hepatitis C. The girls occasionally graze their knuckles on the focus mitts while punching and a small amount of blood is present. Is there any risk of infection from the mitts being used by others?

A: Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Someone with an open wound would have to have that wound come into contact with infected blood in order for there to be a risk of transmitting the hepatitis C virus.

There is often confusion about what is meant by an "open wound." An open wound is one that is still bleeding or still oozing fluid. A wound that is scabbed over and nothing is coming out of the wound is a "closed wound" and therefore is not a possible entry site for the hepatitis C or other blood-borne viruses.

To prevent the possible transmission of hepatitis C (and other blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B), any equipment that may be contaminated with blood from any source should be cleaned before being used by someone else.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you clean up any blood (including dried blood) using a 1:10 bleach solution - one part bleach to every 10 parts of water. Anyone cleaning up blood or dried blood should wear protective gloves.

Many people with hepatitis C are unaware they have the virus. The same may be true with other blood-borne viruses. For everyone's safety, it is best to handle all blood spills by cleaning up the blood with a 1:10 bleach solution while wearing protective, disposable gloves.

Q: I am in the food-serving business and I just found out that I have hepatitis C. I am unable to find any info on what I need to know about having this virus and my field of work. Is it safe for me to continue working in food service?

A: There are different hepatitis viruses, the most common being hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Each hepatitis virus is different.

Hepatitis A is most commonly passed to others through food. But hepatitis C is not passed to others through food. Hepatitis C is transmitted from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact. Some of the common ways of having blood-to-blood contact that can lead to transmission of the hepatitis C virus to another person include (but are not limited to): sharing drug needles, sharing other drug paraphernalia (such as straws), contaminated medical or dental equipment, street tattoos, unsterile manicure or pedicure equipment, sharing razors, etc. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted mother-to-child at birth, or sexually (though this is rare) if the sexual activity involves blood-to-blood contact.

Hepatitis C is not passed to other people by sharing kitchen utensils, glasses, or dishes. Further, hepatitis C it is not spread by casual contact with others

There is a lot of confusion about the different hepatitis viruses. Because hepatitis A can be passed through food, people in the food service industry sometimes get confused and think that all hepatitis viruses can be transmitted through food. This is not true. Again, it is only hepatitis A that is transmitted through food, not hepatitis C or hepatitis B.

None of your coworkers or customers are at risk of contracting hepatitis C from you through food. You cannot transmit the hepatitis C virus to anyone by simply preparing, serving, or delivering their food

Q; Is Hepatitis C Transmitted by Breast Milk to Infants?

There is no strong evidence that hepatitis C is transmitted through breast milk. A few studies have been done that tested breast milk and very rarely is hepatitis C found. Recently, the CDC issued a statement explaining that mothers who have hepatitis C may breastfeed, but should avoid breastfeeding if their nipples are cracked or bleeding

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