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Hepatitis C Outside The Body

How Are Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Spread From Person To Person

Treating Hepatitis C

Like HIV, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses spread:

  • From mother to child: Pregnant women can pass these infections to their infants. HIV-HCV coinfection increases the risk of passing on hepatitis C to the baby.
  • Sexually: Both viruses can also be transmitted sexually, but HBV is much more likely than HCV to be transmitted sexually. Sexual transmission of HCV is most likely to happen among gay and bisexual men who are living with HIV.

Hepatitis C: Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Questions

Is hepatitis C sexually transmitted?

HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare, accounting for less than 1% of overall cases. Sexual transmission is more common in men having sex with men. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. More FAQs

How many patients with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis?

It is estimated that nearly 20% of patients with chronic hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis over a period of decades. Factors which influence progression to cirrhosis include co-infection with hepatitis B or the human immunodeficiency virus , alcohol use and obesity. More FAQs

Can patients with hepatitis C drink alcohol?

Regular alcohol intake has been shown to leadto increased liver damage in patients who have hepatitis C. HCV-positive persons should be advised to avoid alcohol because it can accelerate liver damage and progression to complications from cirrhosis.

Does Treatment For Hepatitis C Always Work

Treatments for this virus have improved dramatically in recent decades. Older treatments relied on strengthening the bodys immune system and not attacking the virus directly. Newer medicines, however, work directly on the viruss cells.

Todays treatments can virtually cure hepatitis C. Once you complete treatment, your viral load will be checked regularly. If the virus is still undetectable in your blood after three months, youre considered cured of hepatitis C.

15 to 25 percent of people who get hepatitis C will eventually clear the virus from their body entirely. This can be done through treatment, or the body can spontaneously eliminate the virus.

Having the hepatitis C virus once doesnt protect you against contracting it again. However, if you encounter the virus in the future, your risk for infected again is dramatically lower because of your previous infection. The best way to avoid being infected again is to reduce behaviors that put you at risk.

Recommended Reading: Hepatitis A B C Difference

How To Avoid Getting Hiv

Abstinence, or not having sex, is the only type of protection that works every time. But if you are having sex, you can lower your risk if you:

  • Use a condom every time you have sex
  • Get tested for HIV and STDs
  • Limit the number of people you have sex with
  • Donât inject yourself with drugs

Talk to your doctor right away if you think youâve been exposed to the virus. They can help you figure out next steps.

How Long Before I Have Symptoms

Needle stick

Many people have mild symptoms or no symptoms, which is why hepatitis is sometimes called a âsilentâ disease.

Hepatitis A. The symptoms usually show up 2 to 6 weeks after the virus enters your body. They usually last for less than 2 months, though sometimes you can be sick for as long as 6 months.

Some warning signs that you may have hepatitis A are:

Hepatitis B. The symptoms are the same as hepatitis A, and you usually get them 3 months after you’re infected. They could show up, though, anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months later.

Sometimes the symptoms are mild and last just a few weeks. For some people, the hep B virus stays in the body and leads to long-term liver problems.

Hepatitis C. The early symptoms are the same as hepatitis A and B, and they usually happen 6 to 7 weeks after the virus gets in your body. But you could notice them anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months later.

For about 25% of people who get hep C, the virus goes away on its own without treatment. In other cases, it sticks around for years. When that happens, your liver might get damaged.

Remember, it’s possible to spread all the types of hepatitis even if you don’t show any signs of being sick.

Also Check: How Many Types Of Hepatitis C Are There

Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood

You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.

Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.

Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.

You can prevent hepatitis C by:

  • never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
  • only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
  • following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Has No Pro

Even though HCV exhibits a liver tropism, extrahepatic manifestations have been described . It is still a long debate if HCV infects the brain, however, up to 2080% of patients with chronic HCV exhibit symptoms like chronic fatigue . In addition, there are several reports of deficits in attention, concentration, and memory or depression . Furthermore, HCV RNA has been detected in CSF and the brain of chronically infected patients with neuropathological abnormalities . have shown that brain microvascular endothelial cells , are permissive to HCV infection in culture, however, if CSF itself might have pro- or antiviral effects is unknown. To address this question, we tested HCV infectivity in CSF of eight different individuals by incubation for selected time points at room temperature. As control, virus was incubated with PBS in suspension. We monitored viral stability in CSF for up to 21 days, and could not detect any pro- or antiviral effects on HCV . The virus remained infectious upon the time course. This indicates that virus which potentially crosses the bloodbrain barrier and enters the CSF retains its infectious capacity for several weeks.

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Myth: Hepatitis Virus Does Not Survive After Leaving The Human Body And Cannot Spread Further

Fact: The Hepatitis A virus can transmit through food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. It can survive outside the body for months in water, and for several days in faeces. It can also live on the hands for up to four hours.The Hepatitis B virus can transmit via blood, semen, or other body fluids of an infected person. It can survive for up to a week outside of the human body.The Hepatitis C virus can transmit via blood, semen, other body fluids, and shared needles. It can survive outside of the body for at least 16 hours and up to four days.Hepatitis D can only be transmitted via infected blood and can survive for a week outside the body.Hepatitis E can be contracted from water, body fluids, and surfaces that are contaminated with infected fecal matter. It can live up to a month in fecal matter and 4 hours on the hands.

Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors

Living with hepatitis

There’s a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors, as they can become contaminated with infected blood.

Equipment used by hairdressers, such as scissors and clippers, can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.

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How Is Hepatitis Transmitted

HCV is transferred from blood to blood contact from a person who is already infected with the virus. It is commonly transferred during intravenous drug use. HCV can survive outside of the body on surfaces for up to 42 days and in a syringe for up to 62 days. It was once believed that a person could contract HCV from themselves by reusing their own syringe, but that has been proven to be untrue. A common way to avoid getting HCV is to use a new syringe every time, and to avoid sharing syringes, or any other works with anyone.

Treatments For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be treated with medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. These usually need to be taken for several weeks.

Until recently, most people would have taken 2 main medicines called pegylated interferon and ribavirin .

Tablet-only treatments are now available.

These new hepatitis C medicines have been found to make treatment more effective, are easier to tolerate, and have shorter treatment courses.

They include sofosbuvir and daclatasvir.

Using the latest medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.

But it’s important to be aware that you will not be immune to the infection and should take steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected again.

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Myth: All Hepatitis Viruses Are The Same

Fact: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E are different kinds of viruses. They have different modes of transmission and manifestations. While A and E are transmitted by ingestion of contaminated food, B and C are transmitted by blood . Hepatitis D occurs only in patients affected by Hepatitis B through direct contact with infectious blood.

How Do You Test For Hepatitis C

Bloodborne pathogen

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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Is Everyone Around Me Now At Risk

The hepatitis C infection can only occur if the blood of an infected person is able to enter another persons body. It is the blood that is infectious, not the person. The virus cannot be transmitted by touching, kissing, hugging or by sharing cutlery.

Am I sexually infectious?

The risk of sexual transmission is debated, but it is generally accepted as being very low much lower than many other identified transmission routes for hepatitis C.

Choices about sexual behaviour are personal and some couples decide that such a low risk is acceptable and continue to have unprotected sex. Other couples, however, decide to use protection.

Unprotected sexual intercourse could be a risk but the likelihood of transmitting the virus without any blood contact is considered very small.

The risk of sexual transmission is increased if blood is present, if you have multiple sexual partners, or if you have other sexually transmitted infections.

In addition, the risk of sexual transmission is increased if the person also has HIV.

Can I transmit hepatitis C in other ways?

Sharing things such as razor blades, nail scissors, toothbrushes and hair clippers poses a risk. If your blood gets onto one of these things, someone else using them might become infected if they also cut themselves.

It seems that HCV can live outside the body in dried blood for varying levels of time. This can vary between sixteen hours to four days.

Myth: Hepatitis Is A Hereditary Disease

Fact: Hepatitis is not transmitted hereditarily from one generation to the next. However, in case of Hepatitis B, the virus can be transmitted from the mother to the child during birth. This can be prevented by identifying the mothers HBV status and by vaccinating the new-born within the first 12 hours.

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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.

Hepatitis may be caused by infection, viruses, chemicals, alcohol and other drug use and other factors.

Chronic hepatitis means ongoing inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the underlying cause.

Reactive Or Positive Hepatitis C Antibody Test

How Long Does Hepatitis C Live Outside the Body?
  • A reactive or positive antibody test means that Hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood and a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus at some point in time.
  • Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true even if they have cleared the Hepatitis C virus.
  • A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean that you have Hepatitis C. A person will need an additional, follow-up test.

Persons for Whom HCV Testing Is Recommended

  • Adults born from 1945 through 1965 should be tested once
  • Those who:
  • Ever injected drugs, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago
  • Have certain medical conditions, including persons:
  • who received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
  • who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
  • with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels
  • who have HIV infection
  • Were prior recipients of transfusions or organ transplants, including persons who:
  • were notified that they received blood from a donor who later tested positive for HCV infection
  • received a transfusion of blood, blood components, or an organ transplant before July 1992
  • HCV- testing based on a recognized exposure is recommended for:
  • Healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV-positive blood
  • Children born to HCV-positive women
  • Read Also: Can Hepatitis B Lead To Liver Cancer

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    Getting Tested For Hepatitis C

    Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you do not have any symptoms.

    A blood test can be carried out to see if you have the infection.

    GPs, sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine clinics or drug treatment services all offer testing for hepatitis C.

    Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, as well as help ensure the infection is not passed on to other people.

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    Hepatitis C: Who’s At Risk And How Long Does The Virus Survive Outside The Body

    Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver.

    Dr Suresh Singhvi

    Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus , which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person.

    Who’s at risk?

    Some people are at increased risk for Hepatitis C, including:

    – Current injection drug users

    – Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago

    – Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs

    – Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure

    – People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments

    – People with known exposures to the Hepatitis C virus, such as:

    – Health care workers injured by needlesticks

    – Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus

    – HIV-infected persons

    – Children born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus

    Less common risks include:

    – Having sexual contact with a person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus

    – Sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes, that may have come in contact with the blood of an infected person

    Risk of a pregnant woman passing Hepatitis C to her baby

    How Do You Get Hepatitis A

    How long does hepatitis C live outside the body?

    The main way you get hepatitis A is when you eat or drink something that has the hep A virus in it. A lot of times this happens in a restaurant. If an infected worker there doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom, and then touches food, they could pass the disease to you.

    Food or drinks you buy at the supermarket can sometimes cause the disease, too. The ones most likely to get contaminated are:

    • Shellfish
    • Ice and water

    You could catch or spread it if you’re taking care of a baby and you don’t wash your hands after changing their diaper. This can happen, for example, at a day care center.

    Another way you can get hep A is when you have sex with someone who has it.

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