According to Reuters, healthcare workers are more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than other employees are.
The news source reported that in comparison to the general population, healthcare workers have 60 percent greater odds of getting hepatitis C. This is alarming, as hepatitis C is linked to liver complications including cirrhosis, liver failure, cancer and death.
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters someone else’s bloodstream. It is commonly associated with drug use, as well as sex, but was also spread prior to the 1990s through blood transfusions.
Unfortunately, healthcare workers are at-risk when dealing with infected patients. “Exposure to blood cannot completely be avoided when using `safe’ instruments, as they reduce the risk of needle stick injuries but do not completely prevent them,” a researcher told Reuters. “Therefore blood borne virus infections will remain a threat to health care workers for some time to come.”
The news source reported that the information was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Researchers found that male healthcare workers have triple the odds of getting hepatitis C in comparison to the general population and a 50 percent greater risk for infection than their female coworkers. Among the workers who are most likely to get Hepatitis C are surgeons, midwives, microbiologists, pathologists, and blood bank and dialysis staff.
Hepatitis C and SSDI: Can I Collect Benefits?
It is unfortunate that so many healthcare workers are at risk for getting hepatitis C. Those who suffer from the disease, who are experiencing complications like cirrhosis or liver failure, who are unable to work, may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
To apply for benefits, you will need to show that your condition does not allow you to perform certain tasks and that it is expected to last longer than a year. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may request information from your healthcare provider showing a gradual decline in your health.
For more information about the SSDI process, if you have hepatitis C, you can visit our Social Security FAQ page.