Health care workers face a higher than average risk of infection with the hepatitis C virus according to a recent analysis.
Compared to the general population, health workers had 60 per cent greater odds of getting hepatitis C, and those who worked directly with blood had almost triple the risk, according to the analysis in “Occupational and Environmental Medicine.”
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of someone who isn’t infected.i
These days, most people infected with the virus get it from sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs, but it can also be transmitted during sex, and until a test for was developed in the early 1990s, people could acquire hepatitis C through blood transfusions.
“Contact with blood, for example, from needle stick injuries, is associated with a risk of infection and continues to be the major threat to the health of health care workers,” said lead study author Claudia Westermann of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Hospital equipment have also been documented as a method of transmission of hepatitis C, including reuse of needles and syringes; multiple-use medication vials; infusion bags; and improperly sterilized surgical equipment, among others.
To assess the prevalence of hepatitis C among health care workers, Westermann and colleagues analyzed data from 44 previously published studies.
Hepatitis C can be cured with some drugs like Simeprevir (Olysio), Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni) which were approved in 2013 and 2014 by the FDA. The standard treatment is for 12 weeks to achieve a cure.
However, the drugs don't come cheap. A complete 12 weeks treatment could cost thousands of dollars.
So prevention is better and CHEAPER than a cure!