What is Hepatitis C?

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  • Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and affecting primarily the liver.
  • The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis which may go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer.
  • HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, and transfusions.
  • An estimated 150–200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C.
  • This chronic infection can be treated with medication: the standard therapy is a combination of peginterferon and ribavirin, with either boceprevir or telaprevir added in some cases. Overall, 50–80% of people treated are cured.
  • Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant.
  • An estimated 150–200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C of which more than 12 million are found in India.
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