Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Improvements needed for hepatitis C testing in youth

A new study led by Boston Medical Center uncovered a need to improve testing rates for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in young people, specifically those with documented substance use history. In the national data sample, under ...

Medications

Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises

Hepatitis C is a serious disease, but the biggest threat to someone's health is not the virus itself. Rather, it is the diseases that can result from it such as reduced liver functioning, scar tissue in the liver and potentially ...

Health

Outcomes of hep C screening intervention examined

A multicomponent intervention can improve hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening, although there is considerable variation by practice, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Medications

Injection drug use: a new study shows a mixed Canadian portrait

In Canada, 171,900 people injected drugs in 2016, up from 130,000 in 2011. In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) estimated, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

For older adults, new hepatitis C treatments are safe and effective

Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. There are three viruses responsible for most cases of the disease: hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis A is typically caused by consuming contaminated food ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

We have a vaccine for hepatitis B, but we still need a cure

Hepatitis B is blood-borne virus that packs a punch. Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion people have been infected with hepatitis B, and 257 million people have developed a life-long infection. This includes 240,000 Australians, ...

Cardiology

Alarming number of heart infections tied to opioid epidemic

An alarming number of people nationwide are developing infections of either the heart's inner lining or valves, known as infective endocarditis, in large part, due to the current opioid epidemic. This new trend predominantly ...

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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but once established, chronic infection can progress to scarring of the liver (fibrosis), and advanced scarring (cirrhosis) which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure or other complications of cirrhosis, including liver cancer.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Most people have few, if any symptoms after the initial infection, yet the virus persists in the liver in about 85% of those infected. Persistent infection can be treated with medication, peginterferon and ribavirin being the standard-of-care therapy. Only 51% are cured overall. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant, and the virus universally recurs after transplantation.

An estimated 270-300 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a strictly human disease. It cannot be contracted from or given to any animal. Chimpanzees can be infected with the virus in the laboratory, but do not develop the disease, which has made research more difficult. No vaccine against hepatitis C is available. The existence of hepatitis C (originally "non-A non-B hepatitis") was postulated in the 1970s and proved conclusively in 1989. It is one of five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E.

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