The Abcs Of Hepatitis B And C
Hepatitis is an infection or inflammation of the liver. It is most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are 6 types of hepatitis viruses types A, B, C, D, E and G.
Two types, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, are linked to cancer.
Hepatitis B is the most common type of hepatitis virus. It is very infectious and is spread mainly by being exposed to infected blood or other bodily fluids . HBV is more likely to cause symptoms than hepatitis C.
HBV infection can cause flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes . Most people recover completely from HBV infection within a few months and develop lifelong protection against it. Only about 10% of people have an infection that lasts a long time.
How To Reduce Your Risk
Dont share needles or other drug-use equipment. If you use intravenous drugs, take part in a needle exchange program.
Dont share personal care articles, such as razors, scissors, nail clippers or toothbrushes, with an infected person.
If you get a tattoo, body piercing or acupuncture, make sure all equipment is clean and sterile. Needles should always be new, not used, and never homemade.
Wear latex gloves whenever you might come into contact with someone elses blood or body fluids.
Does Genotype Predict Response To Daa Therapy Like It Did For Interferon Therapy
Maybe maybe not.
Each of HCVs essential proteins work the same, regardless of genotype. These essential proteins may be structurally different due to small mutations.
Because theyre essential for the HCV life cycle, the structure of their active sites is least likely to change due to random mutation.
Because a proteins active site is relatively consistent between different genotypes, how well a particular DAA agent works is affected by where it binds on the target protein.
The effectiveness of those agents that bind most directly to the proteins active site is least likely to be affected by virus genotype.
All DAA drugs suppress ongoing HCV replication, but they dont eject the virus from its host cell. They also dont remove infected cells. This job is left to the persons immune system.
The variable effectiveness of interferon treatment indicates that the immune system is able to clear cells infected with some genotypes better than those infected by others.
Aside from genotype, there are many variables that can affect the likelihood of treatment success. Some of the more significant ones include:
- amount of HCV virus in your blood
- severity of liver damage before treatment
- the condition of your immune system
- ongoing alcohol misuse
- response to prior therapies
Certain human genes can also predict how well treatment may work. The human gene known as IL28B is one of the strongest predictors of response to PEG/ribavirin treatment in people with HCV genotype 1.
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Encouraging Others To Get Tested For Hepatitis C
While the odds of passing on the hepatitis C virus are low, you should still tell anyone at risk that you have hepatitis C. You should tell sexual partners, spouses, and family members. Your infection may be difficult to discuss, but anyone at potential risk must know. That way, they can get tested and treated if needed. Read more on why you should get tested for hepatitis C.
Paul Berk, MD, professor of medicine and emeritus chief of the division of liver disease, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City chairman of the board, American Liver Foundation.
Alan Franciscus, executive director, Hepatitis C Support Project and editor-in-chief of HCV Advocate, San Francisco.
Thelma King Thiel, chair and CEO, Hepatitis Foundation International.
David Thomas, MD, professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Howard J. Worman, MD, associate professor of medicine and anatomy and cell biology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York City.
The American Gastroenterological Association.
How Do You Test For Hepatitis C
A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.
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Why Getting Tested Is Important
A blood test is one of the only ways to confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis C. Additionally, hepatitis C often has no visible symptoms for many years.
Because of this, its important to be tested if you believe youve been exposed to the virus. Getting a timely diagnosis can help ensure you receive treatment before permanent liver damage occurs.
Could I Get Hep C In The Hospital
Before the medical community identified hepatitis C as a dangerous virus, it existed in the blood supply that hospitals used for transfusions or organ transplants. People got hepatitis C if they received a transfusion before we knew how to test for it, says Dr. Fox. Today though, blood is screened before being administered to patients, so the odds of getting hep C from it is extremely unlikely.
There are also cases of babies who are born with hep C, but that has nothing to do with hospital itself: If a woman has the virus, there is a 6% chance her infant will be born with it, too, according to the CDC. For that reason, its important to be tested for hepatitis C if you are thinking about getting pregnant, and also during pregnancy.
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How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis C
If hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order an ultrasound test to check for liver cancer.
If hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
Ritualistic Practices That Involve Blood
Traditional practices using razor blades, knives or needles can be a risk for spreading the hep C virus. Blood brother rituals involve direct blood-to-blood contact and therefore carry a very high risk of infection if one person has the hep C virus. Sharing instruments for branding or self-harming also carry a high risk of blood to-blood contact .
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There Are So Many Reasons To Get Treated
Todays hepatitis C treatments generally have cure rates of 95% or higher, without the harsh side effects of previous medicines.
Even people who couldnt cure their Hep C in the past may have success with treatment.
Hep C treatments work in different ways and are not all the same. Your Hep C Specialist will determine which treatment is right for you.
Cure means the Hep C virus is not detected in the blood when measured 3 months after treatment is completed.
Stages Of Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus affects people in different ways and has several stages:
- Incubation period. This is the time between first exposure to the start of the disease. It can last anywhere from 14 to 80 days, but the average is 45
- Acute hepatitis C. This is a short-term illness that lasts for the first 6 months after the virus enters your body. After that, some people who have it will get rid of, or clear, the virus on their own.
- Chronic hepatitis C. For most people who get hepatitis C up to 85% the illness moves into a long-lasting stage . This is called a chronic hepatitis C infection and can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis. This disease leads to inflammation that, over time, replaces your healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years for this to happen, though it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
- Liver cancer. Cirrhosis makes liver cancer more likely. Your doctor will make sure you get regular tests because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages.
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Sleep And Blood Sugar Concerns
You need to get your rest! Rest for 7-8 hours a night! might be things that you hear often. But getting great sleep can be tough, as many know.
From work schedules to sleep disorders, it seems like there are a million reasons why getting enough sleep, on a regular basis, is hard. Sleep affects your health in many ways, including insulin resistance.
Less sleep leads to higher insulin resistance, making the body work harder to push fuel into your cells and keep blood sugars in a healthy range. Setting up a sleep schedule, bedtime routine, and working with your medical team to diagnose and treat sleep conditions are a few things you can do to make better sleep patterns.3,4
Testing Treating And Reducing Risk Of Hepatitis
If you think youre at risk for hepatitis infection, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested. A blood test is usually done to see if you have been exposed to the virus. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should get tested for hepatitis.
Get treated for hepatitis infection
There are treatments for hepatitis. Treating long-lasting hepatitis B or C infection can reduce the amount of the virus in a person, which may lower the risk of liver cancer.
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Direct Exposure To Blood
Exposure to large amounts of contaminated blood increases the risk for hepatitis C transmission. If you get a cut and need help tending it, whoever helps you should first put on disposable gloves to prevent exposure in case he or she has a cut. You can also help prevent hepatitis C transmission by covering any cuts or sores with bandages until theyre healed and disposing of used bandages properly.
Uninfected people should take steps to avoid getting someone elses blood in their eyes, nose, and mouth. If an uninfected persons skin is exposed to contaminated blood, wash the area with soap and water immediately. If blood gets in the eyes, rinse them with running water right away and call a doctor to find out about further steps that should be taken.
When cleaning blood from surfaces, Dr. Lee recommends using a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Dried blood should also be handled with care because the virus can live for several days outside the body.
The CDC recommends that if youve ever tested positive for hepatitis C, you should abstain from donating blood, organs, or semen.
What Are The Side Effects Of Drug Treatment
Common side effects for some treatments for hepatitis C may include the following:
Side effects are usually worst during the first few weeks of treatment. They become less severe over time. If you are having trouble dealing with the side effects of your medicine, talk to your doctor. He or she can suggest ways to relieve some of the side effects. For example, if your medicine makes you feel nauseated, it may help to take it right before you go to sleep.
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How Can We Prevent Hepatitis C In The Workplace
There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C. The risk of hepatitis C can be significantly reduced by implementing infection control guidelines suitable for the specific workplace.
Infection control precautions are the first line of defense to protect workers from hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases. For this reason, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends routine practices when there is a risk of exposure to blood or certain body fluids.
Please see the OSH Answers document Routine Practices for more information.
Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.
Hepatitis And The Liver
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is important for a range of functions in the body. These include regulating metabolism, making proteins, storing vitamins and iron, removing toxins and producing bile.
If the liver doesnt work properly, it can cause serious illness or sometimes even death.
Chronic hepatitis means ongoing inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the underlying cause.
Also Check: How Is Hepatitis A Caused
What Causes Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
- having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
- being born to a mother with hepatitis C
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
You cant get hepatitis C from
- being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
- drinking water or eating food
- hugging an infected person
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
- sitting next to an infected person
A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18
Hcv And Cocaine Immune System
It is known that substance use affects several components of the immune system. Drug use can affect the immune system directly, through the activation of receptors on immune cells, or indirectly, acting in the central nervous system. This process interferes with the immune response mediated by antibodies and decreases the production of interleukins and gamma interferon . Depending of the type of substance, different effects are observed. 1111. Friedman H, Pross S, Klein TW. Addictive drugs and their relationship with infectious diseases. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2006 47:330-42. As a result, substance use alters host immunity, which is related with an increased susceptibility to infections. 1111. Friedman H, Pross S, Klein TW. Addictive drugs and their relationship with infectious diseases. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2006 47:330-42.,1212. Kaushik KS, Kapila K, Praharaj AK. Shooting up: the interface of microbial infections and drug abuse. J Med Microbiol. 2011 60:408-22.
Taken together, the poor evidence by immunological control of HCV infection and its relationship with a stimulant drug like cocaine should lead researchers to seek the immunological components that might be involved in this association. Questions to address in the future include defining in more detail specific HCV-related cell alterations among cocaine users.
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Medical Care Overseas Or Blood Transfusions In Australia Prior To 1990
Moderate to low risk
In some developing countries, the blood used for transfusions is not properly screened for hep C. Surgical equipment may also not be well sterilised, which means theres a risk it could transmit hep C.
In Australia, the blood used for transfusions has been screened for hep C since 1990 and is very safe. There is a very low risk in Australia that some procedures involving blood may be performed by workers who do not have a good understanding of sterile procedure and infection control .
How Is Hepatitis C Spread
Hepatitis C spreads through contact with the blood of someone who has HCV. This contact may be through:
- Sharing drug needles or other drug materials with someone who has HCV. In the United States, this is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.
- Getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on someone who has HCV. This can happen in health care settings.
- Being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not sterilized after being used on someone who has HCV
- Having contact with the blood or open sores of someone who has HCV
- Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another persons blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
- Being born to a mother with HCV
- Having unprotected sex with someone who has HCV
Before 1992, hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Since then, there has been routine testing of the U.S. blood supply for HCV. It is now very rare for someone to get HCV this way.
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Tattooing And Body Piercing
Moderate to low risk
Tattooing and body piercing can be a risk because they use needles so can spread infected blood. It is extremely unlikely that you would get hep C at a professional tattooist in Australia because they use effective infection control procedures and sterile equipment. However, in situations where it might be hard to sterilise equipment properly, such as prison and amateur tattooing, there is a much higher risk .
Having tattoos or piercings overseas, in countries where rules about health standards may be poor or not exist, or by workers who may not have good knowledge about sterilisation and infection control can increase your risk of getting hep C or another blood borne virus . The rate of hep C among the people living there may also be higher in developing countries, so the risk of equipment coming into contact with infected blood also increases.
Make sure body artists are operating out of clean, established business premises and are registered with the local council. You can check that they know the Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures and can talk about it with you.