Submitted by the Chenango County Health Department
CHENANGO COUNTY – The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) has been steadily increasing in Chenango County in recent years. In 2010 there were 20 reported cases of the potentially deadly virus, and the number has increased to a reported 66 in 2014 alone.
HCV causes inflammation of the liver, one of our body's most vital organs that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.
“Hep C” as it is more popularly know, is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to inject drugs. Before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992, Hep C was also spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. HCV can be spread through poor infection control techniques in healthcare settings. HCV can also be spread when getting tattoos and body piercings in unlicensed facilities, informal settings, or with non-sterile instruments. 6 percent of infants born to infected mothers get HCV.