How is HCV Transmitted?

Most people with hepatitis C contracted it either through a blood transfusion or receiving blood products (plasma, etc.) that was contaminated with hepatitis C, or by sharing needles with intravenous drug users that were infected with hepatitis C. Prior to 1990 blood could not be screened for HCV. Thanks to HCV testing with modern sensitive methods, the risk of acquiring hepatitis C from blood transfusion is now less than 1%. The other means of acquiring hepatitis C include health care and laboratory workers that may get stuck with an infected needle or instrument, people receiving medical/dental procedures or people that had tattoos that were performed with poorly sterilized equipment. Infected mothers can pass the virus to the fetus in utero but this occurs less than 1% of the time. It may occur more readily if the mother is also infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

Cases of hepatitis C with no evidence of exposure through blood transfusions, needle sticks or needle sharing are called "sporadic". How these individuals became infected is unknown.

Click here for information on what to do if you become exposed to the Hepatitis C virus.

Click on the links below to read the abstracts:

Sexual transmission of HCV

Firefighters at risk for HCV

Blood Bank Warns of Improper Tests

Women At Special Risk of Hepatitis C: Health Group Urges Government to Act Now

Detection Of Hepatitis C Virus-RNA In Bile

Hepatitis C from Gammagard® (Intravenous Immune Globulin)

The Role of Herpes Simplex in the Transmission Of Hepatitis C

Did Military Innoculations Cause Hepatitis C? Officials Downplay Concerns

Other Biological Fluids Than Blood May be Responsible for Intrafamiliar Spread of HCV Infection

Risk of Acquiring Infection During CPR Is Low

Patient-To-Patient HCV Transmission Traced To Colonoscopy

Risk factors for spread of HCV

Thousands possibly infected with hepatitis from blood transfusions

Risks for transmission of hepatitis C virus during artificial insemination

Mother to child transmission of HCV

HCV in Dried Blood Spots

HCV in Dentistry

Possible spread of HCV via Health Care workers

Hepatitis C Virus and Intravenous Immune Globulin

New CDC HCV Postexposure Guidelines

Methods of transmission of hepatitis C

Latex Surgical Gloves Routinely Fail, Risk of Infection Greater than Believed

Study of needlestick accidents and hepatitis C virus

Prevalence of hepatitis C antibody in hospital personnel

Acquisition of HCV in Hemodialysis Patients

Cocaine Snorting Linked to HCV

Blood Donors With Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C: Risk of a Haircut

Detection and Genotyping of HCV RNA in Tear Fluid

Hepatitis C transmission through tattooing

Disinfection of tonometers and contact lenses in the office setting

Alternative Medical Procedures Can Spread Hepatitis Virus

Hepatitis C virus infection in health care workers referred to a hepatitis clinic

At-Risk populations; Chronic HCV patients should receive HBV vaccine

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