Summary of CDC At-Risk Populations for Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Abbreviation: HCV, hepatitis C virus.
SOURCE: CDC, 2001.
naires to assess a person’s potential exposure to HCV infection. It has been found to correlate with infection status and is an effective mechanism for identifying candidates for testing (Armstrong et al., 2006; McGinn et al., 2008; Zuniga et al., 2006). Armstrong et al. (2006) reported that 85% of HCV-infected people could be identified on the basis of three risk factors: injection-drug use, blood transfusion before 1992, and abnormal serum alanine aminotransferase levels. Additional studies have also found that questioning patients about exposures to known risk factors for hepatitis C is predictive of HCV infection in US veterans (Zuniga et al., 2006). People who are current or past users of illicit drugs may not fit the stereotype of an IDU, so all patients should be questioned about any past episode of illicit-drug injection. It has also been suggested that people who have tattoos and body piercings should be tested for HCV (Carey, 2003). Researchers who were evaluating hepatitis C incidence along the Texas–Mexico border found tattooing to be an independent risk factor for infection in their majority-Hispanic population (Hand and Vasquez, 2005). However, it is