Definition - What does Hepatitis C mean?
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes hepatitis, which is the inflammation of the liver.
It is spread through exposure to infected blood, sometimes involving intravenous substance abuse via shared needles.
Safeopedia explains Hepatitis C
Healthcare workers and other medical personnel are particularly at risk because of accidents with needles and unavoidable situations with aggressive patients.
Treatment is often delayed, since infected people display no symptoms until they have extensive scarring of the liver—known as cirrhosis. Some individuals may experience fatigue, fever, jaundice, stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and other non-specific symptoms before this occurs. In the U.S., Hepatitis C is the most common cause of chronic hepatitis and the most common reason for patients seeking liver transplantation.
There is no vaccine to protect against contracting Hepatitis C, and an estimated 130 to 200 million people worldwide are infected with the virus. At present, the main method of treatment is via oral antiviral medications.