Chronic hepatitis C is a long-lasting liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus. During the first 6 months of the infection, it's called acute hepatitis. For most people with acute hepatitis C -- up to 80% -- their illness moves on to a chronic, lasting hepatitis C infection.
Sharing needles and other equipment (such as
cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject drugs.
Having your ears
or another body part pierced, getting a tattoo, or having
acupuncture with needles that have not been sterilized
properly. The risk of getting hepatitis C in these ways is very
Working in a health care environment where you are exposed to
fresh blood or where you may be pricked with a used needle. Following standard
precautions for health care workers makes this risk very low.
Other possible risks
Sometimes people get hepatitis C from:
Having had a blood transfusion or organ
transplant before 1992. Since 1992, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C.
Having been exposed to unsafe practices for giving shots, such as
reusing needles. This occurs in some developing countries.
to have your blood filtered by a machine (hemodialysis)
because your kidneys cannot filter your blood.
Being born to a
mother who has hepatitis C. The risk of passing the virus to a child is greater
if the mother is also infected with
People born from 1945 to 1965 are 5 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than people born in other years.4
The risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual contact is very small.1 The risk is
higher if you have many sex
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 15, 2013
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