Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and gastric varices.

HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment and transfusions. An estimated 130–170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. The existence of hepatitis C (originally "non-A non-B hepatitis") was postulated in the 1970s and proven in 1989. It is not known to cause disease in other animals.

The virus persists in the liver in about 85% of those infected. This persistent infection can be treated with medication; peginterferon and ribavirin are the current standard therapy. Overall, between 50–80% of people treated are cured. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation though the virus usually recurs after transplantation. No vaccine against hepatitis C is currently available.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

New drug promises relief for inflammatory pain

Pain from inflammation sidelines thousands of Americans each year. Many face a tough choice: deal with the pain, take a potentially addictive opioid or use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that may increase risk for ...

Fear, safety and the role of sleep in human PTSD

The effectiveness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment may hinge significantly upon sleep quality, report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans ...