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Hep C risks for child
Jan 30, 2005

Would it be a wise decision on the part of a parent to subject a very young child into the personal home environment of a stage 4, level 4, genotype 1a hep c patient when the hygiene of the infected person is unknown? Should the child be trained in blood borne pathogens and wear protection such as gloves, and protection for the mouth and eyes? After all, according to former surgeon general Koop there is a 13% bracket of unknown reasons as to how and why some people have become infected with hep c.

Response from Dr. McGovern

It would be best if you could speak with the patient and express your concerns directly regarding their knowledge level of their disease. Most patients with hepatitis C know that their blood is potentially contagious. Children who live is households with hepatitis C patients are not at increased risk of getting hepatitis C.

Transmission is via exposure to blood whether it is through needle sharing or uncommonly through sex. Yes, there are cases where the route of transmission is not known. However, a study was published in a major journal which showed that although most patients originally denied drug use, they did admit to injection drug use later on requestioning when their hepatitis C antibody came back positive. Then they did acknowledge prior drug use. Even a one-time exposure is significant. Many people do not like to admit to a one-time experimentation since they do not want to be labelled a "drug-user". This unfortunately can lead to lack of testing of someone at risk.

To reiterate, children who live is households with hepatitis C patients are not at increased risk of getting hepatitis C.

Dr. McGovern



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