The basics about hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver that results from hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is a blood-borne infection that progresses slowly from acute to chronic stages.
In the United States, more than 3 million people are living with hepatitis C and don’t know it. Many people were infected decades ago before blood screenings for the virus and improved health care practices were instituted.
Acute hepatitis C refers to the first several months after someone is infected. Acute infection is usually mild with few or no symptoms. Symptoms, when present, can include fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.
Approximately 15 to 45 percent of infected persons are able to clear the virus within six months of infection without any treatment. However, up to 85 percent of people will develop chronic hepatitis C. Over time, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver disease, liver failure, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
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