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
- 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 | Granthealth.org
|Read Full Article: Hepatitis C | Granthealth.org|