June 20, 2013

Hepatitis C Virus Survival: Syringe Specifics

Syringes

June 20, 2013

Proving the virus can survive in a syringe for up to 63 days, research demonstrates three different characteristics that make Hepatitis C transmission viable from a needle.

By Nicole Cutler L.Ac.

Hepatitis C is known to be transmitted via blood to blood contact; however, there is still some grey area regarding how long the virus can persist out of the body. Putting a time limit on Hepatitis C’s viability on inanimate surfaces helps quantify how long a contaminated object can transmit this infection. In an attempt to gain clarity on the survivability of Hepatitis C long after the contaminated blood is no longer fresh, a study delves into the virus’s longevity in its most likely vehicle.

Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Today, most new Hepatitis C infections are a result of the sharing of needles or other drug-injecting equipment. To learn more about Hepatitis C’s ability to survive in the environment most implicated in its spread, Yale researchers investigated whether or not the virus remains viable for long periods in contaminated syringes. What they found cements our regard for Hepatitis C as being a hardy virus – and it provides an explanation for a good percentage of Hepatitis C transmissions.

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