The latest research & treatment news about Hepatitis C infection, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.

Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis C?

Discovered in 1989, Hepatitis C is a contagious disease which is caused by a virus that infects the liver. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States with prevalence of Hepatitis C virus increasing worldwide. Countries with high rates of people chronically infected with Hepatitis C are Egypt (22%), Pakistan (4.8%) and China (3.2%).

According to the World Health Organization, about 130–170 million people are chronically infected with the Hepatitis C virus, with more than 350,000 people dying from Hepatitis C-related liver diseases each year.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.8 percent or 3.9 million Americans have been infected with Hepatitis C – of which 2.7 million are chronically infected.

If left untreated, Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, liver damage and ultimately liver failure.

Mayo Clinic “Acute Liver Failure” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/liver-failure/DS00961. Retrieved May 20, 2011

Medscape “Diagnosis and Management of Acute Liver Failure” http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/720697_3. Retrieved May 20, 2011

Palmer, M.D., Melissa. Dr. Melissa Palmer’s Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease. New York: Avery Trade, 2004.

U.S. National Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health “Acute liver failure caused by 'fat burners' and dietary supplements: a case report and literature review” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21499580. Retrieved May 20, 2011

U.S. National Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health “Influence of high body mass index on outcome in acute liver failure” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16996806. Retrieved May 20, 2011<

Worman, MD Howard J. The Liver Disorders and Hepatitis Sourcebook. McGraw-Hill, 2006