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.
(1) OSAP, the advocate for The Safest Dental Visit™, in collaboration with the CDC and the AGD, is presenting a webinar on the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) on August 19, Start Time: 1 p.m. EDT/ 12 p.m. CDT/ 11 a.m MDT/ 10 a.m. PDT. The goal of the webinar is to bring dental teams up to date with HCV and new HCV therapies. HCV can survive in the environment for 16 hours on a dry surface and can be detected in saliva. It is important that clinicians understand the disease, know how to identify it, and understand how to follow-up for HCV and other bloodborne pathogens after a needlestick injury. Further Information
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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