Understanding the Threat of Cross-Contamination with Hepatitis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis is a viral infection that inflames the liver. When this type of inflammation occurs, the liver cannot process nutrients, filter blood and fight off infections as it should. Most commonly caused by a virus, hepatitis may also occur as a result of heavy alcohol use, toxins, certain medications and certain medical conditions. Depending on the type, hepatitis can be mild to severe, leading to symptoms like fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, gray stool, joint pain and even jaundice.
Forms of hepatitis can be transmitted to a child by an infected mother, from having sex with an infected person and even by sharing contaminated, reusable medical tools and equipment, such as needs, syringes, glucose monitors and more.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of hepatitis and how OBP Medical can help reduce the chance of cross-contamination in medical settings:
Understanding the Different Types of Hepatitis
According to the World Health Organization, there are five main types of the hepatitis virus: A, B, C, D and E. While all can lead to liver disease, they’re not one in the same.
Hepatitis A – Found in the feces of the infected person, hepatitis A can be transmitted by consuming contaminated water or food. It’s most commonly present in areas of the world with poor sanitation. There are vaccines to prevent this type.
Hepatitis B – Transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen or other bodily fluids, transmission of hepatitis B can spread from infected mothers to children at point of birth, through transfusions of contaminated blood and contaminated injection tools during a medical procedure. There are vaccines to prevent this type.
Hepatitis C – Hepatitis C is most commonly transmitted through infected blood, which may occur through HCV-contaminated transfusions, contaminated injection in a medical setting or drug use through injection. There is no vaccine available for this type.
Hepatitis D – This type of hepatitis can only occur in those who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. The combination of the two viruses can lead to more severe symptoms and outcomes, but the hepatitis B vaccine can be used to protect individuals diagnosed with hepatitis D.
Hepatitis E – Much like hepatitis A, HEV is spread by consuming contaminated water or food. This virus is most common in developing areas of the world and is known as a serious cause of disease in such developing countries. While there are vaccines available to prevent the HEV virus, they are not widely available, especially in the countries that need them most.
Other types of hepatitis that are less common include alcohol hepatitis – the inflammation of the liver caused by drinking too much alcohol – and autoimmune hepatitis – when the immune system attacks and inflames the liver.
How can OBP Medical help?
Because hepatitis can be spread via contaminated medical equipment, it’s critical for hospitals and health care facilities to prioritize infection control to reduce cross-contamination and hepatitis outbreaks. An effective way to prevent the spread of disease is by utilizing single-use medical devices, and OBP Medical has a wide range of tools to choose from, such as single-use laryngoscopes, anoscopes and vaginal speculums.
Not only are these devices safer for patients, they offer time and money savings for the health care professional, and can increase overall patient satisfaction and comfort during a hospital visit. For more information, request your free samples of our single-use tools today.