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Women Who Gave Birth Before 1992 May Be at Risk for Hep C
The California Hep C Coalition and the American College of Obstetricians
Gynecologists Alert Women of Their Risk for Hepatitis C
SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- All women who had C-sections,
vaginal births or other gynecological procedures which required a
transfusion prior to 1992 are at risk for hepatitis C.
In an attempt to shed light on this little-known, but deadly virus running
rampant in California, the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (ACOG), District IX (California), in conjunction with the
California Hepatitis C Coalition, has mailed letters to member physicians
alerting them that patients who had transfusions during child birth prior
to 1992 may be infected with the hepatitis C virus.
"We are concerned about women who received transfusions during
gynecological procedures," said Josephine L. Von Herzen, MD, Chair
District IX, ACOG. "In addition, women who gave birth may not be aware
that they had a transfusion of blood during the confusion and excitement
of their procedure and the resulting birth of their child. A change in
physician since that time could mean their new physician is not aware of
the transfusion. We are sending this reminder to physicians to
double-check charts and discuss the risk factors for HCV with all
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by direct blood-to-blood contact. In
1989, HCV was identified, but it was three more years (1992) before it was
possible to effectively screen the blood supply for it. As a result, the
virus is widespread in the population.
HCV often has no symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), the most common symptom of HCV is extreme tiredness.
It is possible to be infected for 20 years or more before enough liver
damage takes place and recognizable symptoms begin.
"What is horrifying to me is that the virus was inside me and I didn't
know it," said Carol Craig, mother and Director of Back to Life, an HCV
support program. "I still don't know how I was infected with HCV."
"When patients come in for office visits, we urge OB/GYNs to review charts
to make sure those who had transfusions before 1992 are tested for HCV,"
said Jack Lewin, MD, California Medical Association CEO and Hep C
Coalition member. "It is urgent to identify any woman of childbearing age
who may be infected. HCV can spread between the mother and unborn child."
Early diagnosis of HCV is critical. The National Institutes of Allergy
and Infectious Disease advocate for early diagnosis of HCV because it
provides the opportunity to discuss methods of treatment and the time to
minimize the disease's progression through lifestyle changes.
"The Coalition and ACOG are sending letters to physicians and sending out
public service announcements statewide to alert women who may be at risk,"
said Lewin. "We are very serious about getting the word out about hep C."
Physicians who need further information can call ACOG at 415-474-1818 or
get the CDC's clinical recommendations on HCV (MMWR) on-line at
are also available by calling 800-232-3228 .
Information for the public is available directly from the CDC
888-4-HEP-CDC and on-line at http://www.drkoop.com
SOURCE California Hepatitis C Coalition
CO: California Hepatitis C Coalition; American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists (ACOG)
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