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 ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

FDA warns of liver problems for some taking hep C drugs

(HealthDay)—Taking the hepatitis C drugs Mavyret, Zepatier or Vosevi can trigger rare cases of severe liver problems or liver failure in patients who already have moderate-to-severe liver impairment, the U.S. Food and Drug ...

Medications

Expert applauds new draft recommendation for HCV screening

A new draft recommendation for hepatitis C virus (HCV) that recommends screening for adults ages 18 to 79 is exactly what's needed to address the dramatic increase in incidence of the disease, according to a University at ...

Medications

DAAs cut deaths in those treated for HCV-related liver cancer

(HealthDay)—Among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and complete response to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy is associated with a significant reduction in the ...

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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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