Travis F. Shoffner
American Military University
This research paper looks at the infectious disease hepatitis C. The research draws upon primary sources including medical websites and electronic newspaper articles. The goal is to inform and describe the disease, cite current infections and death statistics related to it. The paper will also explain how the disease affects the body and discuss current and future treatment options. This research will provide valuable information regarding the affect hepatitis C has on the population today.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting only …show more content…
There are vaccines to help prevent hepatitis A and B; however, there are not any vaccines to prevent a hepatitis C infection. If a person has had one type of viral hepatitis in the past, they are not immune to the other strains of the disease and it is still possible to be infected by a different type of hepatitis. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. It is one of the most common viruses that can infect the liver. According to Centers for Disease Control statistics, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. “Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants” ("Hepatitis c information," 2012). Although these are the most common ways for a person to be infected, there are several other ways people can become infected with the hepatitis C virus. For instance: needle stick injuries in health care settings, being born to a mother who has hepatitis C, sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s …show more content…
Researchers have found that there are 6 genotypes of the hepatitis C virus and they all may respond differently to treatment. Careful screening of the patient and identification of the genotype is necessary before starting the treatment in order to determine the most effective treatment for the patient. Approximately 15% to 25% of people who are infected with hepatitis C will clear the virus from their bodies without treatment and will not develop chronic infection. Experts do not fully understand why this happens for some people ("Hepatitis c information," 2012). For those patients that do require treatment, the one most often used is a combination of two medicines, interferon and ribavirin. But as stated above, not every person with chronic hepatitis C needs or will benefit from treatment. In addition, the combination of drugs used may cause serious side effects in some patients. The combination of antiviral treatment with the drugs interferon and ribavirin has been the mainstay of hepatitis C treatment. Unfortunately, interferon is not readily available around the world; and it is not always well tolerated by patients. Some of the virus genotypes do respond better to interferon than others, but because of the harshness of the side effects, many people who take interferon do not finish the course of treatment ("Hepatitis c information," 2012). What this means is that while