Note: This is a very good article on the difficulties of developing a protective vaccine against HCV. Alan
Experts in a recent review stated that an effective hepatitis C vaccine is critical for significant global control of the infection in combination with increased screening and treatment.
However, there are several barriers to HCV vaccine development, including virus diversity, limited models for testing vaccines, and incomplete understanding of protective immune responses.
“Although pharmaceutical companies invest in drug development, vaccine development requires investment from sources beyond government and charitable foundations,” Justin R. Bailey, MD, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland, and colleagues wrote. “A prophylactic HCV vaccine is an important part of a successful strategy for global control. Although development is not easy, the quest is a worthy challenge.”
SAN FRANCISCO—Only one-third of U.S. adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorder (OUD) were screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and only 10% of the teenagers and young adults tested for OUD were also tested for HIV, according to the results of a study of a large national sample.
“We’re missing an opportunity to identify and treat young people who are at risk for this deadly infection,” said Rachel L. Epstein, MD, MA, lead author of the study and a postgraduate research fellow in the Section of Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center. The study was presented at ID Week 2018 (abstract 2570).
“Screening for OUD and other drug use, and then testing for hepatitis C in those at high risk, can help us do a better job of eliminating this serious infection, especially now that very effective hepatitis C medications are approved for teenagers,” said Dr. Epstein.
Hep C 101 – Nail Care Settings – By Alan Franciscus
Hepatitis C (HCV or Hep C) is transmitted by contact with blood of an infected person. The most common way that Hep C is transmitted is through sharing needles to inject drugs. Hep C can also be transmitted through contaminated items used in personal care settings, although this isn’t considered a high-risk route. However, transmission is possible if Hep C blood is present on equipment or surfaces.
Any equipment used by manicurists, skin care specialists and cosmetologists may transmit the Hep C virus if there is infected blood on it. It could happen even if there are small amounts of the Hep C virus that are too small to see. A sample of equipment used in these settings include:
The transmission of Hep C through personal care procedures has not been well-studied. Laws regarding health and safety standards in personal care settings vary from state to state.
Any item that can’t be disinfected should be thrown away. These items include paper emery boards, files, orange wood sticks, cotton balls or swabs, sponges, and neck strips. Single use items (straight razors, disposable razors) are encouraged. Single-use items should be thrown away and replaced with a new one.
Items to Clean and Disinfect
Note: Some states prohibit the use of some tools in personal care settings. Check your state for these regulations. A link is provided at the end of this article.
Items that need to be cleaned and disinfected include blade or scraper tools used to trim calluses. Needle-like instruments used to extract skin blemishes and cutting cuticles present risk of infection.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Equipment
Any items that are not disposable should be cleaned and disinfected. Commercial products such as Barricade, disinfect rather than sterilize. Solutions that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered hospital grade kill bacteria (bactericide), viruses (viricide), and fungi (fungicide).
Items that need to be sterilized are autoclaved. An autoclave is a machine that sterilizes instruments. It is the same machine used to sterilize medical and dental instruments.
Make sure the workplace is clean. Used or dirty equipment must be kept separately from other items to prevent contamination with the clean items. Work surfaces should be disinfected after each customer. Products should be kept in containers to allow for a single application. Soaking solutions are only used for one person. After each use, solutions are discarded and containers are disinfected.
Be a Proactive Consumer
The consumer (you) has the most important role in the prevention of Hep C in personal care settings. Keep your eyes open for safety issues. Ask questions about safety. Talk with family and friends about where they frequent. Don’t choose a salon just because it’s cheap; you may get more than you want.
There are other steps to take to improve safety measures. Many drug stores sell individual manicure and pedicure sets. Individual sets can be taken to a salon for each visit or stored at the salon. Single packaged disinfection solutions can be purchased at drug stores and poured into hand and foot solutions. Make sure they are EPA-approved.
Finally, do not share any personal care items with anyone, even at home.
Note: This article was adapted and updated from an article that appeared in the HCV Advocate by Dr. Norah Terrault.
Nails Magazine provides information for nail salon workers: www.nailsmag.com/resource/handouts.aspx.
OSHA provides a booklet: A Guide for Nail Salon Workers: https://files.nailsmag.com/Handouts/OSHAStayHealthy.pdf
For more information about HCV transmission and prevention, visit our website fact sheets at:
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A new study from screening results performed at a pair of Oakland-based hospital systems found that automated, routine testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) conducted in integration with standard nursing workflow could increase the prevalence of caught diagnoses for both diseases.
The obvious end-result would be more timely care for patients unlikely to be tested outside of an emergency department (ED) setting—namely, younger patients.
The study, published and presented at the 2018 Annual IDWeek Meeting in San Francisco, CA, this week, was led by Ryan Anson, MS, NP-c, and Christopher Hall, MD, of the East Bay Advanced Care system in Oakland. Along with colleagues from the Sutter Health Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC), an outpatient HIV clinic, the team assessed the merits of a Nursing Standardized Procedure (NSP) that would allow registered nurses (RNs) to independently order blood tests for HIV- and HCV-susceptible patients.
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Although this month’s Hepatitis Headlines doesn’t directly discuss viral hepatitis, the information presented is relevant and important.
Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017
This article by Margot Sanger-Katz appeared in the New York Times on Aug. 15, 2018.
Reporting on recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sanger-Katz wrote, “Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 Americans last year, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10 percent…The death toll is higher than the peak yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths.”
Strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl are contributing to the high overdose death rate. Note that death by overdose is just one of the ways in which people can die from opioid use. The list of potential harm that can occur from unsafe use of drugs and drug-related equipment is long, and includes various infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C. Immunization can prevent hepatitis B; treatment is a pivotal tool in the prevention of hepatitis C transmission among people who use injection drugs.
Trolls, Bots, and Anti-Vaxxers
This article by Gaby Galvin appeared in U.S. News and World Report on Aug. 23, 2018.
Apparently, Russian hackers aren’t just attempting to interfere with U.S. politics; they appear to be trying to mess with our health. Journalist Gaby Galvin informs readers about attempts by Russia-linked social media accounts to create friction in our country by tweeting for and against vaccinations.
Quoting from a recent study from George Washington University, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, “Content from these sources gives equal attention to pro- and anti-vaccination arguments…This is consistent with a strategy of promoting discord across a range of controversial topics – a known tactic employed by Russian troll accounts.”
This is alarming. The thought that we could wipe out a huge part of our population because of ignorance and distrust is the stuff that appears in science fiction. Except in this case, it is happening. For instance, measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 because of a highly effective immunization campaign. Now it is back.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic. Nearly one-third of the world’s population was infected; approximately 50 million people died. We now have ways of preventing the flu and many other infectious diseases, but the effectiveness of this prevention relies on immunizing as many people as possible. Be sure you get a flu shot and are current on all recommended vaccinations, including hepatitis A and B immunizations.Share This Page