EHS masthead EHS Home LBL Home EHS Home EHS masthead

Bloodborne Pathogens Retraining (EHS 0738)
EHS 0738 SITE MAP
BBP INTRODUCTION
BLOOD-BORNE PATHOGEN (BBP)
PREVENTION/
EXPOSURE CONTROL
INCIDENT RESPONSE
QUESTIONS
BIOSAFETY MANUAL
 
 

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Hepatitis C virus (HCV), also formerly known as "non A-non B", is another  pathogen that you need to be aware of if you have occupational  exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials.

Hepatitis C virus has been found in all parts of the world.  The virus appears to be transmitted most efficiently  through parenteral exposure to blood from an infected individual.  Common examples of transmission events are: receiving a blood transfusion from an infected source or sharing intravenous drug needles with an infected individual.

Comparing HBV and HCV

Like HBV, symptoms of HCV can range from no symptoms or flu-like symptoms to jaundice and even death in rare instances. Also similar to HBV, HCV has a carrier state  which can lead to chronic infection and liver disease.

Unlike HBV, there is currently no vaccine for HCV available and immune globulin administered after exposure does not appear to be very effective in preventing HCV infection.

Transmission Risk

Although the risk of HCV transmission is still being defined, the risk of transmission by the following routes appears to be low:

  • regular household contact situations
  • sexual contact
  • passing the infection from mother to unborn child

Cases of transmission of HCV to health care workers have occurred through accidental needle sticks, cuts with sharp instruments, and splashes to the eye with human source material.

Recent studies have indicated that the risk of transmission for HCV through a parenteral exposure is ~ 2% or 20 in 1000, somewhere between HBV and HIV.

Because there is no treatment or vaccine for HCV, preventing exposures through dedicated use of universal precautions and safe lab practices is the most effective way to reduce transmission of HCV, as well as other BBP's, in the workplace.

Congratulations, you have finished Section I. Go to next section.

spacer