Hepatitis C

Topics: Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis Pages: 3 (1029 words) Published: April 2, 2005
Hepatitis C has been referred to as a "Silent Epidemic," since it usually progresses slowly over many years. Most people who are infected with hepatitis C are not aware of any noticeable symptoms for as long as one to two decades after they are infected. In fact, by the time symptoms appear, the virus has probably already begun to damage the liver. If the liver is injured and stops functioning, death will always be the outcome (Lieber). Liver failure from chronic hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of liver transplants in the United States. Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver's cells and tissues caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C virus is blood-borne, which means it is spread through blood and blood products (Grady). After the discovery of hepatitis A virus in 1973 and hepatitis B in 1963, any cases of acute or chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis without identifiable causes were placed into the category of non-A non-B (NANB) hepatitis(Palmer108) . In 1989, a major breakthrough regarding this mysterious and intriguing disease occurred, the hepatitis C virus was identified. Now, most hepatitis C viruses are believed to be the viruses responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of NANB. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.8% of the U.S. population, or 3.9 million Americans, have been infected with this chronic blood-borne virus. About 50,000 new cases of hepatitis C are estimated to occur in the United States each year. Without proper and effective treatment the death rate is expected to triple in the next fifteen years (Turkington 9). Seventy-five percent of those infected with the virus will develop chronic hepatitis and half of those people will develop cirrhosis of the liver Due to the fact that Hepatitis C is blood-borne there are many ways a person can contract HCV, and many types of people who are more prone to it than others. The most effective mode of transmission is when an...
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