Community awareness of the dangers of certain diseases plays a great role in prevention and limitation of the occurrence of the disease. Hepatitis C is of those diseases that can only be controlled by applying the preventive measures. Therefore it is important for communities to be aware of the disease, what it is, how it is transmitted, whether there is a therapy for it and how to prevent its spread.
Hepatitis C disease is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is sometimes also called non-A non-B hepatitis.
Hepatitis C virus is transmitted both percutaneously and permucously. Percutaneous transmission occurs when a contaminated needle is used by an infected person and then re-used by another person, thus transmitting the virus. Another example of percutaneous transmission is using infected blood or blood products when transferring blood for hemodialysis. A common form of transmission occurs in communities where acupuncture, tattooing and body piercing are done with unsterile needles.
As previously mentioned, HCV is also transmitted by permucousal means, such as contact with infected household objects. It is highly recommended to avoid sharing personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes.
Unprotected sexual intercourse can lead to the spread of HCV to the partner. Mothers can give it to their babies during birth.
Unfortunately, at this stage there is no vaccine of postexposure prophylaxis available for HCV, although a combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin is a treatment of choice. Its effectiveness depends on many factors, and is not guaranteed.
Due to the lack of vaccine or therapy for HCV, the following preventive measures are highly recommended and encouraged in the community:
- Screening of blood and blood products.
- Sterilization of re-usable dental and surgical tools
- Destruction of disposable needles
- Blood tests for HCV before choosing sexual intercourse
- Using sterilized needles for tattooing, body piercing, and acupuncture
- Not sharing personal hygiene items
Hepatitis C disease, caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV), is a disease that has no guaranteed therapy . Thus the most effective way of reducing the incidence of this disease in any community is to make the members aware of the dangers of this disease and how it is spread.