Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
Exposures to blood and other body fluids occur across a wide variety of occupations. Health care workers, emergency response and public safety personnel, and other workers can be exposed to blood through needlestick and other sharps injuries, mucous membrane, and skin exposures. The pathogens of primary concern are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Workers and employers are urged to take advantage of available engineering controls and work practices to prevent exposure to blood and other body fluids. Source: NIOSH
Testing baby boomers saves lives: about 3 million adults in the US are infected with HCV, most are baby boomers; up to 3 in 4 people who are infected don’t know they have hepatitis C so they aren’t getting the necessary medical care; baby boomers, anyone born from 1945 through 1965 should get tested for hepatitis C. Click HERE for more details
The prevalence of HCV infection among dentists is similar to that of the general population (~1%-2%)*
CDC published an overview for dentistry in the December 2013 Journal of the American Dental Association. Click HERE for a link to the article.
*From CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings - 2003
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