Health workers most at risk from Hepatitis C

Health workers most at risk from Hepatitis C

Healthcare workers are among thoses most at risk of contracting Hepatitis C, the Abu Dhabi Municipality said at a lecture for employees aimed at spreading awareness about the often incurable virus.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 9:31 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:37 AM

Working under the theme, ‘Protect Your Liver, Protect Yourself’, the lecture was organised in collaboration with the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (Haad), Gulf Diagnostic Centre and Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

“The Hepatitis C virus is most commonly transmitted through exposure to contaminated blood or the use of non-sterile tools. The most susceptible are the healthcare workers who run the risk of infection after injury with a needle contaminated with Hepatitis C virus, along with chronic renal failure patients who used to require hemodialysis before 1992,” said Dr Ahmed Abdullah, director of Communicable Diseases at Haad. In addition, sharing some personal care items such as razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers can cause transmission, while drug addicts and those who gets tattoo may catch the disease through the needle.

Dr Abdullah cited the different types of viruses that can infect the liver such as Hepatitis A, B and C, which transmits through the blood and causes cirrhosis of the liver or even cancer.

“Most cases are discovered by chance during periodic medical examinations or for any other reason since Hepatitis C is usually chronic, and it has no specific symptoms,” he continued.

“Scientific researchers have shown that the response to treatment is more significant when starting treatment early, before the virus becomes more aggressive and invades the liver at large scale,” he explained.

Dr George Attinawi, from the Gulf Diagnostic Centre, defined Hepatitis C as “a silent killer”, since it takes several years for the infected person to discover the infection, during which he/she may show no symptoms and pass on the virus to others.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says between three to four million people are infected with Hepatitis C every year. About 150 million are chronically infected and at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer, resulting in more than 350,000 people dying annually from Hepatitis C-related liver diseases.

More news from Health