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Author Topic: Is there a hep C post-exposure treatment option?  (Read 21617 times)

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Offline farmgirl

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  • Posts: 20
Is there a hep C post-exposure treatment option?
« on: October 27, 2011, 09:39:58 am »
Saw this crazy news report (Elyria man stabbed, officer also seeks treatment (http://is.gd/8kNpse)) about a couple who got stabbed and then bled all over the police office who responded to help them. Apparently the people both had hep c so the report says the police officer got cleaned up and then went to seek treatment.

what is the treatment if you think yopu've been exposed to hep c? is there anything you can do?

Offline dot3434

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  • Posts: 12
Re: Is there a hep C post-exposure treatment option?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 08:10:33 pm »
Good question that would be great if u cld attack it before it even gets settled. But I've never heard of such a thing.

Offline Tim Horn

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Re: Is there a hep C post-exposure treatment option?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 08:05:48 am »
Well, there's some good news and bad news here.

First, the bad news. There really aren't any treatments that can stop a possible hepatitis C infection in its tracks. For people exposed to hepatitis A or hepatitis B, providers can administer intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) -- sometimes called gamma globulin or immune globulin -- made from donated plasma (the liquid part of the blood) packed with antibodies against these two viruses. Provided that IVIG is administered soon after exposure, these antibodies can fight off hepatitis A or hepatitis B, before they've had time to attack the liver.

There's also post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Using a combination of available antiretroviral drugs -- provided they're started within 72 hours of exposure to the virus (the sooner the better) -- it is possible to reduce the risk of the infection taking up permanent residency in the body.

Unfortunately, there's no IVIG or PEP for hepatitis C exposure.

If there's a high probability someone has been exposed to hepatitis C, the best thing to do is to monitor the person very closely in the weeks and months following possible infection, using tests to look for evidence of active hepatitis C virus replication in the body. Viral load testing -- similar to the assay used to monitor hep C treatment responses -- is employed here.

If the virus is detected in blood samples, there's a 20 to 25 percent chance the immune system will clear the virus on its own. However, many providers believe in being a bit more proactive. They often prescribe a six-month course of treatment involving pegylated interferon and ribavirin. By doing so, there's a 90 percent chance of curing the virus. Sure, treatment can be a bear, but a 90 percent chance of fighting off the infection, before it has had a chance to damage the liver, following exposure to the virus reflects pretty good odds.

It's possible that we'll have better tools, in the future, to ward off hepatitis C infection following exposure to the virus -- IVIGs would be great; so too would be a combination or oral hepatitis C drugs that can be administered without interferon. While we're not there yet, we do know that we can effectively treat hepatitis C infection in its earliest stages. This is important to know, as people who may have been exposed to the virus need to report to their health care providers and be monitored closely to determine if treatment should be started.

Tim Horn


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