Posted By Clod on April 4, 2012
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Because the virus mutates very rapidly, it is very difficult to develop a vaccine for all the virus’ genotypes and variations. While there are no prospects for a vaccine in the immediate future, researchers are hopeful that innovations in virology will eventually open that possibility.
Hepatitis C is spread by direct contact between your blood and the blood of an infected person. It is not spread by hugging, contact with a person?s skin or saliva, or sharing the same telephone or computer keyboard. A person with hepatitis C is no danger to family, friends or co-workers unless there is blood-to-blood contact.
Hepatitis C may be common in the United States, but a few simple precautions can prevent its spread. Refrain from intravenous drug use. HCV rates are very high among IV drug users. Even a single experimentation with drug needles is a major risk. Healthcare workers should take precautions to avoid accidental needle sticks. If you are a patient on hemodialysis, make sure the center you use employs rigorous infection-control practices.
Neonatal transmission of the virus — that is, transmission at birth — from mother to child is possible, though it is estimated that less than 5 percent of these children acquire the disease. The risk is higher in children born to mothers who also are infected with HIV or who have high levels of HCV in their blood. There is no evidence that HCV is spread through breastfeeding.
Infection by sexual contact is rare, though some cases have been reported. The use of latex condoms is strongly recommended for people who have multiple sexual partners.
Those infected with hepatitis C should refrain from donating blood, organs, tissues or semen. Finally, if you live with an infected person, do not share razors or toothbrushes, which may contain small amounts of blood.