Hepatitis C is spread in various ways. Transmission is mainly through sharing contaminated blood. Blood transfusions used to account for the majority of cases, but that risk has been reduced dramatically. The chance of contracting the virus through blood transfusion in the United States is now less than 1 in 2 million transfused units of blood. That has decreased due to development of more sophisticated screening tests.
People who are now most at risk for contracting hepatitis C are people who share needles or other drug paraphernalia (“works”) that may be contaminated by blood. Injecting drugs accounts for 60-90 percent of all cases of spread of the hepatitis C virus.
Transmission is also possible through unsterilized tattoo or body piercing equipment and manicuring tools–such as used in manicures and pedicures to cut and remove cuticles and calluses. You should ask your parlor if they use one time use equipment – most tattoo places are quite careful with this, however prison tattoos where needles and ink are shared from one person to another pose risk of infection with hepatitis C. Infection may also happen when inkpots used to store tattooing dyes are contaminated through reusing the ink from one person to another. Always make sure that your tattoo artist uses only your own personal inkpots when tattooing. This is a potential danger even when the tattoo needles are sterile. However, studies show that tattoos, manicures and pedicures account for less than 3 percent of all transmission.
The risk to healthcare workers from contaminated needle sticks is 1.8 percent. The CDC estimates that around 3 to 6 percent of the time transmission occurs between monogamous sexual partners. There is new evidence of higher risk of sexual transmission when there in sexual activities that involve possible blood to blood contact as well as in people co-infected with HIV. And, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the time the virus is transmitted from an infected mother to her newborn (increases to 19%-27% when co-infected with HIV). Birth risk is 1 to 5 percent.
According to the CDC, the transmission of HCV infection through breast milk has not been documented and is considered likely only if there is bleeding. In the five studies that have evaluated infants born to HCV-infected women, the average rate of infection was 4 percent in both breast-fed and bottle-fed infants.
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Yours in health,
Doc Misha at www.helphepatitisC.com