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January 10, 2010

Other, Other Illnesses

Question from Yulee, Florida, USA:

I have an aunt who has Hepatitis C. Sometimes she stays at my mother’s house. When I go over there, I get nervous about my fingers because I poke them to check my blood sugar. I wash my hands with antibacterial soap before testing and dry them only with paper towels. Do diabetics have to be more cautious when touching everything or just things that might contain blood? Should I feel nervous touching the counter in the kitchen or tables? Can hepatitis make it’s way into my fingers through my cuts? Does it live on counter services and towels or does it only get there through blood of infected people?


From: DTeam Staff

Hepatitis C virus is spread through blood to blood contact. It could be transmitted with contaminated needles, lancets, etc. Some personal care items, such as razors, toothbrushes, cuticle scissors, etc., may have blood. It is important not to share any items that may be contaminated or to reuse diabetes supplies that could be contaminated or to engage in any activity where blood to blood exposure may occur.

HCV is not spread through casual contact such as hugging, kissing, or sharing eating or cooking utensils. Sexual transmission is thought to be rare, but possible with blood to blood contact

From the Center for Disease Control Web Site (CDC):

How is HCV transmitted?

HCV is transmitted primarily through large or repeated percutaneous (i.e., passage through the skin) exposures to infectious blood, such as

Injection drug use (currently the most common means of HCV transmission in the United States)
Receipt of donated blood, blood products, and organs (once a common means of transmission but now rare in the United States since blood screening became available in 1992)
Needlestick injuries in healthcare settings
Birth to an HCV-infected mother

HCV can also be spread infrequently through

Sex with an HCV-infected person (an inefficient means of transmission)
Sharing personal items contaminated with infectious blood, such as razors or toothbrushes (also inefficient vectors of transmission)
Other healthcare procedures that involve invasive procedures, such as injections (usually recognized in the context of outbreaks)