Hepatitis C is
a liver disease that is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus, a virus
that lives in your liver cells.
How it spreads
get hepatitis C from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing,
coughing, or sharing food or water with someone. You can
get hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of someone who has
Chronic hepatitis C is a persistent infection by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Acute hepatitis C refers to the initial illness from infection within six months of becoming infected. Most people (up to 80%) with acute hepatitis C move on to chronic hepatitis C infection. The general term hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver, which can also be caused by non-viral causes.
The most common way to get hepatitis C is by sharing
needles and other equipment (such as cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject
people could get hepatitis C through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
Since 1992, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C, so it is
now rare to get the virus this way.
In rare cases, a mother with
hepatitis C spreads the virus to her baby at birth, or a health care worker is
accidentally exposed to blood that is infected with hepatitis C.
Experts aren't sure whether you can get hepatitis C through sexual
contact. If there is a risk of getting the virus through sexual contact, it is
very small. The risk is
higher if you have many sex
If you live with someone who has hepatitis C or you
know someone who has hepatitis C, you generally don't need to worry about getting
the disease from that person. You can help protect yourself by not sharing anything that may
have blood on it, such as razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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