Hepatitis C Virus

CDC Facts

        Bloodborne Pathogen                  

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

The abstract information on this page taken directly from CDC data

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a serious disease resulting in chronic infection in 75 - 85% of infected persons.

Signs & Symptoms of Hepatitis C Disease

80% of persona have no signs or symptons.

Symptoms of HCV include jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and nausea.

Long Term Effects of Hepatitis C Disease

Chronic infection occurs in 75 - 85% of infected persons.

Chronic liver disease occurs in 70% of chronically infected persons.

Death from chronic liver disease is less than 3%.

Leading indication for liver transplant.

Transmission of Hepatitis C Disease

Transmission of HCV occurs when blood or dody fluids from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected.

HCV is spread through sharing needles or "works" when "shooting" drugs, through needlesticks or sharps exposure on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

Persons at risk for HCV infection might also be at risk for infection with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) or HIV.

Risk Groups for Hepatitis C Disease

Injecting drug users

Recipients of clotting factors made before 1987

Hemodialysis patients

Recipients of blood and/or solid organs before 1992

People with undiagnosed liver problems

Infants born to infected mothers

Healthcare/public safety workers

People having sex with multiple partners

People having sex with an infected steady partner

Prevention of Hepatitis C Disease

There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Do not shoot drugs; if yoiu shoot drugs, stop and get into a treatment program; if you can't stop, never share needles, syringes, water, "works", and get vaccinated against Hepatitis A & B.

Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes, etc.).

If you are a health care or public safety worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other shrrps; get vaccinated against Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).

Consider the risks if you are thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing.  You might get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them or if the artist or piercer does not follow good health practices.

HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare.  If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  You should also get vaccinated against Hepatitis B (HBV).

If you are HCV poisitive, do not donate blood, organs or tissue.

Vaccine for Hepatitis C Disease

There is no vaccine for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Treatment and Medical Management of Hepatitis C Disease

HCV positive persons should be evaluated by their doctor for liver disease.

Interferon and ribavirin are two drugs licensed for the treatment of persons with chronic Hepatitis C (HCV).

Interferon can be taken alone or in combination with ribavirin.  Combination therapy is currently the treatment of choice.

Combination therapy can get rid of the virus (HCV) in up to 4 out of 10 persons.

Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.

For more information on the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

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