Hepatitis C And
Saliva Transmission

This site is provided by Veterans of the United States Military with Hepatitis C (HCV) to assist fellow Vets/ Active Military and Dependents with awareness to the Hep C virus exposure methods during military service.
Testimony of Gary A. Roselle, M. D. Program Director for Infectious Diseases Veterans Health Administration Department of Veterans Affairs Before the Subcommittee on Benefits Committee on Veterans' Affairs U.S. House of Representatives April 13, 2000 state one in 10 US veterans are infected with HCV, a rate five times greater than the 1.8% infection rate of the general population.
A study conducted by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and involving 26,000 veterans shows that up to 10 percent of all veterans in the VHA system tested positive for hepatitis C.
The following short article refers to just one of numerous clinical tests done on saliva...with no teeth brushing or serious kissing before the saliva samples were taken. 21% tested positive for HCV in normal 'static' saliva. Testing immediately after teeth brushing or vigorous kissing was not performed in this study:
Saliva May Have Infectious Amounts Of HCV In Presence Of High HCV Viral Load And Gum Disease
"This study suggests that the saliva of individuals infected with hepatitis C may be infectious."
By Michael Carter
Saliva can contain potentially infectious quantities of hepatitis C virus (HCV), particularly if an individual has a high HCV viral load and poor oral hygiene, according to research conducted amongst HCV-monoinfected individuals and presented to the 43rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Chicago on September 14th.
On 21 consecutive days saliva samples were collected from twelve patients with HCV. Of the 248 samples collected, 52 (21%) tested positive for HCV RNA using ultra-sensitive testing equipment, which can detect the presence of HCV RNA as low as 43,000 copies/mL.
Five patients did not have detectable HCV in their saliva on any day during the study period, and none of the seven patients who shed HCV in their saliva did so every day (mean 7.30 days, range 1 - 13 days).
The strongest predictor of shedding was HCV serum viral load. No patient shed HCV in their saliva if they had a serum HCV viral load below 1 million copies/mL. Having an HCV viral load 1-log higher increased 40-fold the likelihood of the virus being shed in the saliva (p<.0001).
In the presence of a high serum viral load, the other major risk factors for having detectable HCV in saliva was gum disease. Patients were asked how many times a day they brushed their teeth and if bleeding occurred after brushing. Those individuals who brushed their teeth twice-daily were half as likely as those reporting once-daily brushing or less to have HCV present in saliva (p=0.2). In addition, gum bleeding was also found to be predictive of HCV being found in saliva (p=0.2). The investigators admit that these findings regarding oral hygiene are not statistically significant but are "provocative" and will be investigated further in a larger study.
"This study suggests that the saliva of individuals infected with hepatitis C may be infectious," conclude the investigators, adding that "microscopic amounts of blood in the saliva due to gum disease may be responsible. People with HCV are cautioned not to share toothbrushes with other people in their household."
Wang C et al. Salivary shedding of HCV is associated with serum HCV RNA level and the presence of periodontal disease. 43rd ICAAC, abstract V-773, Chicago, September 14 - 17th, 2003.
List Of Hep C Transmission Methods
Body Fluid Transmission (Including Saliva and Tears)
Hepatitis C and Body Fluids
Can your family catch hepatitis C from your tears? Probably not, but there are studies out there that have detected the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in tear fluid. A French study appeared this last March in the Journal of Medical Virology that says their findings "suggest that tear fluid may transmit HCV but the source of HCV RNA in this fluid needs to be better understood." The virus was detected in the tears of 5 out of the 51 patients with Hep C that they tested.
Similar studies were done in Hamburg, Germany, and published in medical journals [J Clin Microbiol 33: 2202-2203, 1995, and Microbiol Immunol 38: 157-158, 1994], where all their samples tested positive for HCV. They state, "Remarkably, we regularly found greater amounts of amplification products in tear fluid and eye swabs compared to plasma using the same conditions for sample preparation."



This Site Served by TheHostPros