We can introduce hepatitis as the inflammation of the liver. In addition, viral hepatitis refers to this condition which caused by viruses.
The liver consider as one of the most important organ in our body. It is responsible for many of the process of human body. For example, it can filter the blood, process nutrients and fight infections. So as a result of viral hepatitis, all these process can be affected. Therefore it can consider as major health issue in worldwide.
There are some major viruses that can cause viral hepatitis. They are,
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
In this article we are going to consider about Hepatitis C virus.
Structure of Hepatitis C Virus
HCV is a single-stranded RNA virus in the Flavividae family. Not only that but also HCV is an enveloped virus. This can cause acute and chronic hepatitis. Hepatitis C virus can replicate in hepatocytes.HCV has a lipid membrane around it. This lipid membrane is 55nm-65nm in diameter. Viral envelop glycoprotein are embedded in the lipid envelop.
Transmission of HCV
HCV can be transmissible by the parenteral route. Hepatitis C virus can be found in blood and other body fluids. Therefore when infected body fluid entered to healthy body, it can cause infection. Today there are some main instances which can cause infection. For example, sharing needles, syringes, lancets, and razors can cause the infection.
The blood and other organs are now screening for the “Transfusion Transmissible Infections” before give them to patients. But before 1992, such screening procedure was not there. Therefore HCV was transmitted through blood transfusion and organ transplantation before 1992.
Hepatitis C virus can also spread by sexual contact with an infected person. Although the sexual transmission is rare, sex with multiple partners can increase the risk of getting the infection. In additionally, transmission of HCV from mother to baby also can occur at birth. But there are some ways that Hepatitis C cannot transmit from one person to another. They are by hugging, shaking hands, sharing foods, sharing drinking glasses or by eating utensils. Not only that but also Hepatitis C virus cannot spread by coughing, breastfeeding or sneezing.
There are some categories of people that are at high risk of getting HCV infection. They are,
- People who are sharing drug equipments.
- People who are having multiple sex partners that are infected with sexually transmitted diseases like HIV.
- Long term kidney dialysis patients.
- Healthcare providers who are not following the standard precautions.
- The babies born to HCV infected mothers.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C Virus
There are two types of HCV infection. They are acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis. Therefore acute hepatitis symptoms can appear anytime from 2 weeks to 6 months after getting infected. So these symptoms can include,
- Upset stomach
- Dark urine
- Grey colored stool
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Joint pain
- Feeling tired
If these symptoms not treated well for HCV, then chronic hepatitis can occur. Therefore it may be a sigh of an advanced liver disease.
Diagnosis of HCV
There are some screening targets to identify the presence of HCV.They are,
- Serological markers
- HCV antibody
- HCV antigen
- Viral nucleic acid
- HCV RNA
HCV antibody becomes detectable approximately 30-60 days after the infection.
HCV antigen normally appears between 0-20 days after viral RNA first appears.
Viral RNA is normally detectable within a few weeks of infection.
This can persist for 6-8 weeks prior to antibody seroconversion.
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Prevention of HCV
There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C Virus. But there are some ways to reduce the infection. They are,
- Never share syringe, needles or other things with an infected person.
- Not sharing personal items.
- Not getting tattoos from an informal places.
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