Hepatitis C is a virus (HCV) that can cause inflammation of the liver. It is mainly spread from the blood from an infected person, for example while sharing needles, or other equipment that has been exposed to blood, to inject drugs, or through needle-stick injuries. For most people (70%-85%), hepatitis C is a long-term chronic condition that can result in long-term serious health problems and even death. The majority of infected people may not be aware of their infection if they are not ill with symptoms.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is to avoid behaviors that can spread the disease, such as injecting drugs, and decrease the risk of occupational exposure (for healthcare workers) by adhering to Standard Precautions.
Hepatitis C is reportable in Orange County within seven (7) calendar days of identification. To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180, fax reports to 714-560-4050, or mail to P.O. Box 6128, Santa Ana, CA 92706-0128. An average of 8 cases (range, 5-14) of acute hepatitis C were reported in Orange County each year between 2013 and 2017. However, chronic hepatitis C infections are much more common, with 38,656 newly reported cases in California in 2016 (Source: CDPH).
- CDC Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals
- HCV Guidance: Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C (American Association for Study of Liver Diseases and Infectious Diseases Society of America)
- Information for Healthcare Personnel Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Recommended Testing and Follow-up
- Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis (2001 MMWR)
For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm.
Last reviewed January 30, 2019