Feb 1, 2005
In the NYTimes today is an article about the dangers of tattoos and body piercings, The Perils of Needles To the Body, and it includes this sentence:
The primary concern is infection with blood-borne pathogens like H.I.V. and the C and B forms of the hepatitis virus.
The phrase about two forms of the hepatitis virus didn’t seem right to me, so I did some quick checking with the CDC and learned that, in fact, hepatitis B virus is a double-shelled deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus of the class Hepadnaviridae while hepatitis C virus is a single-stranded positive RNA virus of the class Flaviviridae. So, not two forms of the same virus, but two very different viruses. The confusion comes from the name hepatitis, which is a collection of diseases of the liver. Still, the Science editors of the Times should have caught that error.
Anton Zuiker ☄
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