Rarely spoken of yet existing. Less light is beamed on it yet it is a prevalent cause of liver failure among other factors.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic (not showing symptoms), but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver cancer among other things
HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use (IDU), poorly sterilized medical equipment, and transfusions. An estimated 150–200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. The existence of hepatitis C (originally identifiable only as a type of non-A non-B-hepatitis) was suggested in the 1970s and proven in 1989. Hepatitis C infects only humans and chimpanzees.
The virus persists in the liver in about 85% of those infected. This chronic infection can be treated with medication.. Overall, 50–80% of people treated are cured. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant. Hepatitis C is the leading reason for liver transplantation, though the virus usually recurs after transplantation. No vaccine against hepatitis C is available.
The primary route of transmission in the developed world is intravenous drug use (IDU), while in the developing world the main methods are blood transfusions and unsafe medical procedures The cause of transmission remains unknown in 20% of cases; ]however, many of these are believed to be accounted for by IDU.
IDU is a major risk factor for hepatitis C in many parts of the world. Researchers say that out of 77 countries reviewed, 25 (including the United States) were found to have prevalence of hepatitis C in the intravenous drug user population of between 60% and 80%.Twelve countries had rates greater than 80% It is believed that ten million intravenous drug users are infected with hepatitis C; China (1.6 million), the United States (1.5 million), and Russia (1.3 million) have the highest absolute totals. Occurrence of hepatitis C among prison inmates in the United States is 10 to 20 times that of the occurrence observed in the general population; this has been attributed to high-risk behavior in prisons such as IDU and tattooing with non-sterile equipment (based on findings)
Transfusion of blood products, or organ transplants without HCV screening carry significant risks of infection. It was in view of this that some countries instituted HCV screening before any form of transfusion or organ transplant. However, some countries do not screen for hepatitis C due to the cost
Those who have experienced injury due to a stuck needle from someone who was HCV positive have about a 1.8% chance of subsequently contracting the disease themselves. The risk is relative depending on how deep it penetrated and the type of needle used. There is a risk from mucosal exposures to blood; but this risk is low, and there is no risk if blood exposure occurs on intact skin
Hospital equipment has also been documented as a method of transmission of hepatitis C, including reuse of needles and syringes; multiple-use medication vials; infusion bags; and improperly sterilized surgical equipment, among others Limitations in the implementation and enforcement of stringent standard precautions in public and private medical and dental facilities are known to be the primary cause of the spread of HCV in Egypt, the country with highest rate of infection in the world.
Whether hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity is controversial. While there is an association between high-risk sexual activity and hepatitis C, and multiple sexual partners are a risk factor for hepatitis C, there is no conclusive evidence that hepatitis C can be transmitted by sexual activity.
Tattooing is associated with two to threefold increased risk of hepatitis C. This can be due to either improperly sterilized equipment or contamination of the dyes being used. Tattoos or piercings performed either before the mid-1980s, “underground,” or non professionally are of particular concern, since sterile techniques in such settings may be lacking. The risk also appears to be greater for larger tattoos. It is estimated that nearly half of prison inmates share unsterilized tattooing equipment. It is rare for tattoos in a licensed facility to be directly associated with HCV infection.
SHARING PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
Personal-care items such as razors, toothbrushes, and manicuring or pedicuring equipment can be contaminated with blood. Sharing such items can potentially lead to exposure to HCV. Appropriate caution should be taken regarding any medical condition that results in bleeding such as cuts and sores. HCV is not spread through casual contact, such as hugging, or sharing eating or cooking utensils. Neither is it transmitted through food or water.
Transmission of hepatitis C from an infected mother to her child occurs in less than 10% of pregnancies. There are no measures that alter this risk. It is not clear when during pregnancy transmission occurs, but it may occur both during gestation and at delivery. A long labor is associated with a greater risk of transmission. There is no evidence that breastfeeding spreads HCV; however, to be cautious, an infected mother is advised to avoid breastfeeding if her nipples are cracked and bleeding, or her viral loads are high.
How then can we prevent it?
1. Do not share needles and syringes
2. Ensure in the case of transfusion that the blood is screened of HCV. In the case of organ transplant, the donor must have been screened.
Like I always advise, once you feel and strange feeling within your body or you know anyone with such, get a doctor’s help.
I need you to survive!!!!!!