Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Vaccination of HAV and HBV  to help protect against HCV

There is no vaccination for HCV but those at high risk of exposure should be vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, or both.
Image complements of CDC.




Prevention


To reduce the number of Hepatitis C infections and HCV-related diseases, it is necessary to implement primary and secondary prevention methods. Primary prevention methods reduce the risk of contracting the infection, and the secondary reduce the risks of contracting other diseases in those infected with HCV.


Primary Prevention Methods

Primary prevention activities reduce the potential risk for HCV transmission from blood, unprotected sex and with multiple partners and exposure to needles (drugs, tattoos, piercings). Precautionary measures that should be done include:
  • Educating the public on this infectious agent and modes of transmission and infection
  • Not sharing razors, toothbrushes, manicure tools  and other items that could be contaminated with blood
  • Making sure that sterile equipment is used when getting a tattoo or piercing
  • Never sharing IV drug needles or other drug equipment
  • Counseling and educating to prevent initiation of injecting drugs or risky
  • sexual practices, especially for adolescents.
  • Counseling those who are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and drug-related infections on what those individuals can do to minimize their risk of becoming infected [1]
Individuals who use illegal drugs should be advised to :
  • Stop using and injecting drugs
  • To enter and complete a substance-abuse treatment
  • If continuing to use drugs, to never share needles, to use sterile equipment and clean the site of injection
  • To get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B  [1]
Individuals who are at risk  for STDs should be advised to:
  • Have sex with only one uninfected partner or not to have sex at all
  • To use condoms correctly and every time to protect themselves and their partner
  • To get vaccinated against Hepatitis B
  • If there is a risk for infection, individuals should be routinely tested [1]

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Secondary Prevention Methods

Secondary prevention activities reduce risks of chronic disease by identifying the HCV infected individuals through diagnosis testing and by providing appropriate medical treatments. Methods that should be done include:
  • Counseling patients infected with HCV about the disease, treatment methods and what can be done to prevent transmission to other individuals
  • Diagnosing at which stage the infection is and implementing appropriate treatment
Precautions that can be taken to prevent the spread of HCV in a hospital setting:
  • For transfusion and transplants, thorough screening of the blood is necessary to make sure it is not infected
  • Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times by the hospital staff when dealing with the patients
  • Washing hands after and between patients is necessary
  • Sharing of nondisposible items between patients should be avoided
  • Getting vaccinated against Hepatitis B 

Currently, here is no vaccine against HCV because the high mutability of the virus complicates vaccine development.  [1]





REFERENCES:

1. CDC. Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection and HCV-Related Chronic Disease. MMWR [serial online] 1998;47:1-39. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00055154.htm. Accessed October 30, 2008.


NOTE: This web page was created by Kristina D., a student at the University of Delaware as part of a class assignment

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Last Updated November 18, 2008