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Hepatitis C (viral hepatitis)

A virus that is carried by infected blood or body fluids. Persons who may be at risk for hepatitis C are those who:

  • Received a blood transfusion prior to July 1992
  • Received blood, blood products or solid organs from a donor who has hepatitis C
  • Injected street drugs or shared a needle with someone who has hepatitis C
  • Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Had frequent contact with blood on the job (as a healthcare worker)
  • Had sex with a person who has hepatitis C
  • Shared personal items, such as toothbrushes and razors which may have blood on them, with someone who has hepatitis C
  • Were born to hepatitis C infected mothers

How This Hurts the Liver

The liver becomes inflamed. This causes severe or long-term symptoms.

Treatment

Some patients with hepatitis C benefit from being treated with interferon or a combination of interferon and ribavirin.

Generally, 50 percent to 60 percent of patients respond to treatment initially and continued response occurs in about 10 percent to 40 percent of patients.

Treatment may be prolonged and given a second time to those who relapse after initial treatment.