Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices; inadequate sterilization of medical equipment; and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
The incubation period for hepatitis C is 2 weeks to 6 months. Following initial infection, approximately 80% of people do not exhibit any symptoms.
Those who are acutely symptomatic may exhibit
• Decreased appetite
• Abdominal pain
• Dark urine
• Grey-coloured faeces
• Joint pain
• Jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes).
Screening and diagnosis
HCV infection is diagnosed in 2 steps:
1. Screening for anti-HCV antibodies with a serological test identifies people who have been infected with the virus.
2. Nucleic acid test for HCV RNA: If the test is positive for anti-HCV antibodies, a nucleic acid test for HCV RNA is needed to confirm chronic HCV infection
3. Liver Biopsy:
4. Laboratory test: In addition, these people should have a laboratory test to identify the genotype of the hepatitis C strain. There are 6 genotypes of the HCV and they respond differently to treatment. Furthermore, it is possible for a person to be infected with more than one genotype. The degree of liver damage and virus genotype are used to guide treatment decisions and management of the disease.
Hepatitis C does not always require treatment as the immune response in some people will clear the infection, and some people with chronic infection do not develop liver damage. When treatment is necessary, the goal of hepatitis C treatment is cure
The standard of care for hepatitis C is changing rapidly. Until recently, hepatitis C treatment was based on therapy with interferon and ribavirin, which required weekly injections for 48 weeks, cured approximately half of treated patients, but caused frequent and sometimes life-threatening adverse reactions.
Recently, new antiviral drugs have been developed. These medicines, called direct antiviral agents (DAA) are much more effective, safer and better-tolerated than the older therapies
Consult Aadil hospital for an appropriate treatment.