|Hepatitis C (Tutorial)|
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Failing to fight-off the virus
About 80% of people who get the initial infection, will never completely fight off the hepatitis C virus, and it will persist in their liver.
Late stage effects
Over many years, the chronic infection of the liver, can lead to complications like a fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Worldwide hepatitis C is the cause of 27% of cirrhosis cases, and 25% of hepatocellular carcinomas.
Hepatitis C is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact, associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needlestick injuries in healthcare, and transfusions. It may also be spread from an infected mother, to her baby during birth.
Casual contact and blood screening
It is not spread by superficial contact, and the risk of being infected through a blood transfusion, can be reduced to one per two million, with proper blood screening.
There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. Prevention includes harm reduction efforts for intravenous drug users, universal precautions for health care workers, condom use, and proper screening of donated blood.
Early generation treatments
Treatment of liver failure
As of 2015, about 2% of the worlds population was infected with the hepatitis C virus, causing 167,000 deaths due to liver cancer, and 326,000 deaths due to cirrhosis. It occurs most commonly in Africa, Central, and East Asia.
The existence of hepatitis C (originally identifiable only as a type of non-A, non-B hepatitis) was suggested in the 1970s, and proven in 1989. Hepatitis C infects only humans and chimpanzees.
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