5,500 called for Hepatitis C tests

5,500 patients in several parts of Wales are being offered tests, over fears that they may have been passed the Hepatitis C virus by a former healthcare worker. The worker is known to have transmitted the virus to two patients between 1984 and 2003.

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What is Hepatitis C?

  • Hepatitis C is a virus that can lead to inflammation of the liver
  • In most cases, it does not have any symptoms and so most people don't realise they have it
  • If untreated, the infection can cause chronic liver disease and, very rarely, cancer of the liver
  • The Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, and very rarely through sexual intercourse
  • The most common route of transmission in the UK is intravenous drug use
  • It cannot be transmitted through social contact, kissing, or sharing food and drink
  • About four in every 1,000 people in the UK may be Hepatitis C carriers
  • Treatment helps to achieve clearance in up to 80 per cent of carriers

Since 2007, all healthcare workers new to the NHS should be offered a Hepatitis C test, and anyone performing surgical procedures should be tested for Hepatitis C by their health board.

For more information and advice:

Visit the Hepatitis C Trust website

Phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47

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