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Medical News

Detachable Needles on Syringes Promote Hepatitis C Transmission, Study Says

February 19, 2010

In San Francisco Friday at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Yale University School of Medicine researchers will present a study, reportedly the first of its kind, of the viability of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in used syringes. When shared among injecting drug users, syringes with detachable needles are more likely to transfer HCV from one person to another, the results show.

In their experiment, Dr. Elijah Paintsil and colleagues loaded HCV-infected blood into syringes, depressed the plunger, and measured the amount of HCV in the residual blood at that time and again nine weeks later. In detachable-needle syringes, HCV persisted at nine weeks in most temperatures. In syringes with attached needles, much less viable HCV was noted.

Paintsil said prevention specialists operating needle-exchange programs should be aware of the study's results, though he noted that detachable-needle syringes are used much more commonly by drug injectors outside the United States.

Back to other news for February 2010

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
02.17.2010; Thomas H. Maugh II

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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