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Hepatitis C (HCV)

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in serverity from mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious life long illness that attacks the liver. infection is the result of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis C can be either "acute" or "chronic."

In 2014 an estimated 30,500 acute hepatitis C cases were reported in the United States. An estimated 2.7-3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C. Approximately 75% - 85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C will develop chronic infection. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs. 

The Hepatitis C virus can survive outside of the body at room temperature, on environmental surfaces, for up to 3 weeks.

Symptoms

Symptoms of acute Hepatitis C can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and more. However, 70%-80% of individuals infected with Hepatitis C have no symptoms. In many cases, there are no symptoms of disease until liver problems have developed. Hepatitis C is often detected during routine blood tests to measure liver function and liver enzyme (protein produced by the liver) level. For more information review the CDC Fact Sheet.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine for the prevention of HCV, research into the development of a vaccine is underway. For more information visit:CDC

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