What is it?
Hep C is a liver infection caused by a virus
Also known as non A, non B hepatitis
Hepatitis C Incubation period
6-7 weeks on average (range 2-6months)
infectious one or more weeks before getting ill
chronic carriers remain infectious
3 out of 4 persons have no symptoms and can infect others without knowing it
Who is at risk?
About 35,000 people get Hep C every year
down from 180,000 in the 1980s
About 3.9 million people in the USA are infected with Hep C.
It can cause liver failure, cirrhosis, liver cancer
Responsible for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths/year.
There is a blood test that screens for Hep C antibodies (ELISA or RIBA)
Antibodies usually develop within 3 months
HIV+ persons may not develop detectable antibodies
There is a PCR test (detects parts of actual virus) for Hep C but it is not yet FDA approved
If infected, liver enzyme tests or a liver biopsy can check liver function
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