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Hepatitis C

Learn the basics about hepatitis C.

What is Hepatitis C?

  • Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis C?

The following persons are at known to be at increased risk:

  • Current or former injection drug users, including those who injected only once many years ago
  • Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987, when more advanced methods for manufacturing those products were developed
  • Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July 1992, when better testing of blood donors became available
  • Chronic hemodialysis patients
  • Persons with known exposures to Hepatitis C, such as
    • health care workers after needle sticks involving Hepatitis C positive blood
    • recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested Hepatitis C-positive
  • Persons with HIV infection
  • Children born to Hepatitis C-positive mothers

How is Hepatitis C spread?

Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily through large or repeated percutaneous (i.e., passage through the skin) exposures to infectious blood, such as:

  • Injection drug use (currently the most common means transmission in the United States)
  • Receipt of donated blood, blood products, and organs (once a common means of transmission but now rare in the United States since blood screening became available in 1992)
  • Needle stick injuries in health care settings
  • Birth to an Hepatitis C-infected mother

Hepatitis C can also be spread infrequently through:

  • Sex with a Hepatitis C infected person (an inefficient means of transmission)
  • Sharing personal items contaminated with infectious blood, such as razors or toothbrushes (also inefficient vectors of transmission)
  • Other health care procedures that involve invasive procedures, such as injections (usually recognized in the context of outbreaks)

Transmission does not occur by:

  •  Sharing eating utensils
  • Breastfeeding
  • Hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or other casual contact
  • Hepatitis C virus is not found in urine or feces
  • Through food or water

Read full article: Hepatitis C |

Read Full Article: Hepatitis C |

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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