Routes of Transmission

Approximately 75% of cases are parenteral (e.g., needle-stick, etc.) (19). Transmission through the sexual route is not common and only appears to be significant if there is repeated exposure with one or more people infected with HCV. Mother-to-baby transmission is considered to be uncommon but has been reported (20). Theoretically, household spread is also possible through sharing contaminated toothbrushes or razors.

Because the disease is often silent, there is a need to raise awareness among the general population on how to avoid infection and to encourage high-risk groups to be tested. Health care professionals should also be educated to avoid occupationally acquired infection. An example of good practice is contained within the document Hepatitis C Strategy for England, issued by the UK Department of Health in 2002 (18).

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