Clinical Edge

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HCV Incidence From Injection Paraphernalia

J Infect Dis; 2018 Jan; Heimer, Binka, et al

Sharing paraphernalia does not directly result in hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission but instead is a surrogate for transmissions resulting from sharing drugs, a recent study found. In experiments designed to replicate real-world injection practices when drugs are shared, the residual contents of HCV-contaminated syringes with detachable or fixed needles were passed through the “cookers” and filters used by people who inject drugs (PWID) in preparing drugs for injection and then introduced into a second syringe. All items were tested for the presence of infectious HCV using a chimeric HCV with a luciferase gene. Researchers found:

  • HCV could not be recovered from cookers regardless of input syringe type or cooker design.
  • Recovery was higher when comparing detachable needles to fixed needles for residue in input syringes, filters, and receptive syringes.

Citation:

Heimer R, Binka M, Koester S, et al. Recovery of infectious hepatitis C virus from injection paraphernalia: Implications for prevention programs serving people who inject drugs. J Infect Dis. 2018;217(3):466-473. doi:10.1093/infdis/jix427.

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