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Detection of hepatitis C virus in the nasal secretions of an intranasal drug-user

Author(s): McMahon James | Simm Malgorzata | Milano Danielle | Clatts Michael

Journal: Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials
ISSN 1476-0711

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Abstract Background One controversial source of infection for hepatitis C virus (HCV) involves the sharing of contaminated implements, such as straws or spoons, used to nasally inhale cocaine and other powdered drugs. An essential precondition for this mode of transmission is the presence of HCV in the nasal secretions of intranasal drug users. Methods Blood and nasal secretion samples were collected from five plasma-positive chronic intranasal drug users and tested for HCV RNA using RT-PCR. Results HCV was detected in all five blood samples and in the nasal secretions of the subject with the highest serum viral load. Conclusions This study is the first to demonstrate the presence of HCV in nasal secretions. This finding has implications for potential transmission of HCV through contact with contaminated nasal secretions.
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