Hepatitis C virus is predominantly transmitted by blood-to-blood contact, typically by sharing of needles by injecting drug users.
Discarded needles could act as a vector for transmission of this infection.
|Viral load declined by less than one log following storage for 24 hours|
|Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
Professor Paul Haber and colleagues from Australia identified 2 cases of Hepatitis C seroconversion following a needle-stick injury in a community setting.
The effects of specimen processing and storage conditions on detection of Hepatitis C RNA were assessed.
The research team determined the likelihood of discarded needles containing infectious Hepatitis C.
Consistent with a role for discarded needles in viral transmission, in vitro studies demonstrated that viral load declined by less than one log following storage for 24 hours.
Professor Haber's team concluded, "All needle-stick injuries should be promptly investigated by serology and Hepatitis C virus-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)."