What is Hepatitis C?


Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Clinical Features
  • Jaundice.
  • Fatigue.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Intermittent nausea.
  • Vomiting.
Etiological Agent
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Transmission
  • Primarily blood borne, also sexual and perinatal.
Risk Groups
  • Injecting drug users.
  • Hemodialysis patients.
  • Health care workers.
  • Sex contacts of infected persons.
  • Persons with multiple sex partners.
  • Infants born to infected women have evidence of liver disease (e.g., persistently abnormal ALT levels).
Prevention
  • Screening of blood/organ/tissue donors.
  • Counseling to reduce/modify high–risk practices.
Treatment
  • Drugs are licensed for the treatment of persons with chronic Hepatitis C.
  • Treatment is effective in 10 to 40% of persons.
Sequelae
  • Chronic infection >85% of infected persons.
  • Chronic liver disease: 70% of infected persons.
  • Deaths from chronic liver disease: 8,000 to 10,000/yr.
  • Leading indication for liver transplantation.