Hepatitis C Risk Higher for Tattoo Enthusiasts

The increasing prevalence of tattoos world-wide, which is being seen more and more in younger populations, appears to be linked to the growing risk of being diagnosed with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis C, wrote ABC News, citing a multi-national study.

The study involved a so-called “systematic review” of 124 studies published from 30 countries and revealed that people with tattoos experience a nearly three-fold—2.74 times—likelihood of developing hepatitis C versus people with no tattoos, said Dr. Jane Buxton of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver and colleagues, said ABC News. Of the studies, 83 were included in the meta-analysis and countries included Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil, and the United States, reported ABC News.

In some of the sub-groups—ABC News pointed to noninjection drug users, for example—a nearly six-fold—5.74 times—increase was seen, said Dr. Buxton and colleagues in the online journal the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The researchers concluded that infection-control guidelines are needed for tattoo artists and clients with enforcement occurring via inspections, record keeping, and adverse event reporting, said ABC News. The team also suggested prevention programs targeted to younger demographics, specifically those age groups likelier to seek tattoos, as well as populations in which a higher incidence of hepatitis C exists, such as in the prison environment, said ABC News.

Hepatitis is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver and produces a variety of symptoms. Often, hepatitis can be asymptomatic, producing no visible symptoms.

There are various forms of hepatitis, but all of the varieties do share common symptoms including fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, muscle or joint pain, dark colored urine, and jaundice.

Hepatitis C is a blood disorder that is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, such as when tattoo instruments that have not been sanitized and tattoo inks and dyes that are not sterile are used, especially when used on more than one person and any one person along the usage line carries a blood borne disease, such as hepatitis C.

Approximately 70 percent of those infected with hepatitis C will develop serious liver disease. Also, hepatitis C is a known risk factor for liver cancer and can lead to the need for a liver transplant.

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