A friend of mine has a 4 year old son who decided to taste the blood from a babysitter that may have hepatitis C. She was checking her blood sugar, and he has seen her suck her blood and asked if he can do it too. Not being a very good caregiver, she let him suck her blood, can he be infected with hepatitis C? What test can be done to check him?
Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood to blood contact. In other words, blood from a person infected with hepc must get into the bloodstream of the other individual. If the child had open sores in his mouth, transmission is possible but still the possibility is extremely low. What makes you believe the babysitter has hepc? I would be equally concerned about other infectious diseases such as hepb and HIV just to name a few. Tell your friend to find another babysitter. Letting a 4 year old suck blood from her finger is irresponsible regardless.
In my opinion, the child is probably fine, but here is some information regarding initial testing.
The initial screening test for hepatitis C is a blood test which checks for antibodies. The human body produces antibodies in response to the virus.
The antibody test looks for these specific antibodies, not for the virus itself, to work out if you have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It may take up to three months for antibodies to appear in your blood following infection (although it is usually positive by 6 weeks). This is known as the ‘window period’. During this time antibody testing may not provide an accurate result.
A negative antibody test result usually means that a person has not been infected with the virus. However, the blood sample may have been taken in the window period before antibodies can be detected.
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