University of Washington researchers have found traces of hepatitis C virus in the saliva of people with that disease, suggesting that the simple acts of kissing or sharing a toothbrush might be enough to pass along the virus.
The study involved 12 people who were infected with hepatitis C. The researchers tested their saliva every day for three weeks and found that about one in five samples tested positive for the virus. Traces of the hepatitis C virus were found in the saliva of seven participants.
The researchers presented their findings September 29 at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents in Chicago.
Protecting one's self may be a difficult task, since many people infected with hepatitis C are not even aware that they have the virus.
Other sources: Cape Times (September 30, 2003)