Chronic Hepatitis C patients are advised not to share toothbrushes, razors, nail-scissors or other personal articles that may have been in contact with others.
Dr Lock and colleagues from Germany examined the contamination of toothbrushes with chronic Hepatitis C.
The researchers assessed this as a model for a possible unconventional way of transmission.
The team tested in 30 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 2 mL of saliva, and the toothbrush rinsing water after toothbrushing for Hepatitis C-RNA.
Saliva before and after toothbrushing was positive for Hepatitis C-RNA in 9 and 11 patients, respectively.
The researchers found that 12 of the toothbrush rinsing water specimens tested Hepatitis C-RNA-positive.
|12 of the toothbrush rinsing water specimens tested Hepatitis C-RNA-positive|
|Journal of Viral Hepatitis|
In 6 of these 12 patients, the team noted that 'native' saliva had been negative for Hepatitis C-RNA.
Patients with Hepatitis C-RNA-positive toothbrush rinsing water showed no significant differences from those with negative rinsing water.
The research team found no differences with respect to certain clinical, biochemical and virological parameters.
Dr Lock's team concluded, “Our study demonstrates a contamination with Hepatitis C-RNA of a considerable portion of toothbrushes used by Hepatitis C patients.”
“This suggests at least a theoretical risk of infection by sharing these objects and strengthening the recommendations to take care of a clear separation of these personal care objects between patients and their household members.”