Hepatitis C is an infectious virus that affects the liver. It is found in the blood of an infected person. Once the virus enters the body, it can take from 2 weeks to 6 months for symptoms to appear. Between 50 to 80% of infected people will progress to a chronic infection. Treatment options are available for newly diagnosed individuals and should be discussed with a medical practitioner.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
Approximately 70 to 80% ofpeople infected will not have symptoms. Others may experience:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin & whites of the eyes)
How is hepatitis C spread?
Hepatitis C is found in the blood of an infected person. It is spread through:
- Blood-to-blood contact
- Sharing of needles and drug equipment and sharing personal products such as razors,toothbrushes, nail files, and clippers
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but those infected should be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. Practice safe sex, don't share needles and ensure sterile equipment is used for body piercing and tattoos. Recipients of blood, tissues, or organs prior to 1990 and recipients of blood clotting factors (Factor VIII) prior to1992 are at higher risk for Hepatitis C. Injection drug users and people who "snort" drugs are at higher risk for Hepatitis C.