Although I can only access the abstract, this study in Hepatology (1/13) was reported by Fox News and other news outlets. The researchers excluded IDUs and those who had blood-transfusions (pre-1992). The CDC writes,”Fritz Francois, MD, a researcher from New York University Langone Medical Center, reports that people with hepatitis C are four times more likely to have tattoos, regardless of other risk factors.”
“…Although injection drug use (IDU) and blood transfusions prior to 1992 are well-accepted risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, many prior studies that have evaluated tattooing as a risk factor for HCV infection did not control for a history of IDU or transfusion prior to 1992. In this large, multicenter case-control study we analyzed demographic and HCV risk factor exposure history data from 3,871 patients, including 1,930 with chronic HCV infection (HCV RNA positive) and 1,941 HCV negative (HCV antibody negative) controls…
Conclusion: Tattooing is associated with HCV infection, even among those without traditional HCV risk factors such as injection drug use and blood transfusion prior to 1992.”
Thank you Dr. Francois. You proved that there is a significant relationship between tattooing and HCV without complicating the issue with some other known risk factors, therefore ending the “controversy” about this important route of transmission.
This study will help veterans with HCV–who received tattoos in service but never were IDUs or received transfusions–when they deal with the VA. HCVets recommends (older post) that you get stamped copies of studies you use from a librarian so they aren’t labeled Internet junk.
Information and images like this one from the FDA may convince the young people we care about to “Think Before They Ink.”