Most of the prevalent cases of Hepatitis C virus infection are attributable to intravenous drug using.
However, a substantial number of individuals, particularly noninjecting drug users, report no identifiable source of Hepatitis C virus exposure.
This may be interpreted as inaccurate reporting of past intravenous exposure or as the presence of an unidentified source of Hepatitis C virus infection.
Dr Juan Macias and colleagues from Spain examined the prevalence of and factors associated with Hepatitis C virus infection among noninjecting drug users.
The team assessed 182 individuals who were attended from 2003 to 2004 in a drug addiction facility because of noninjecting drug use.
The researchers detected Hepatitis C virus infection in 13% of participants.
Sharing the inhalation tube of crack cocaine, presence of tattoos, and age of 34 years were independently associated with Hepatitis C virus infection.
Dr Macías' team concluded, "The prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection in noninjecting drug users is higher than in general population."
"Hepatitis C virus infection is more likely among older drug users, those with tattoos and crack cocaine users that share the inhalation implements."