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Shaving the risk for hepatitis C?

The traditional barbershop shave, long considered one of the last bastions of male luxury, may prove risky.

A new study suggests that barbers who rely on time-honored shaving techniques run the risk of contracting hepatitis C, a virus that often causes chronic infection and can lead to liver disease. The findings suggest that customers may face the same threat.

Patrick Marcellin of Beaujon Hospital in Clichy, France, and his coworkers studied 37 Sicilian barbers who relied on nondisposable, nonsterilized blades. The barbers shaved with the same instruments they used on their customers.

The team found that 14 of the barbers (38 percent) had antibodies to hepatitis C. In comparison, 50 people being screened as blood donors showed no evidence of hepatitis C infection, the researchers note. In Italy, up to 1.5 percent of the general population carries hepatitis C, they point out.

Hepatitis C is known to be transmitted through exposure to infected blood or blood products. The authors believe their findings suggest that the use of nondisposable shaving blades can also transmit this microbe. They describe their results in the March 11 Lancet.
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Title Annotation:nondisposable shaving blades may transmit the virus to barbers and their clients
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 18, 1995
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