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How is Hepatitis C (HCV) caused, how it is diagnosed, prevented and treated?

Certain types of hepatitis can be transmitted through blood. The causes of Hepatitis C infection is due to the transfusion of blood or blood products, needles or other forms of injuries, mother to infant transmission and sexual contact. It is known fact that 70 to 80 percent of people develop the chronic disease. Some people develop liver disease in 5 years and some may even take 20 years. Additional factors may include excessive alcohol intake, obesity, smoking, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, co-infection with HIV or Hepatitis B. The complications of cirrhosis are developed in form of accumulation of water in abdomen, jaundice and blood vomits.

To diagnose Hepatitis C (HCV), blood test for anti HCV positivity. Next, test HCV RNA levels which indicates viral load. Higher viral load does not mean a severe liver disease. Next, check for genotype of hepatitis C virus.

The infection caused by Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination but the infection caused by Hepatitis C can only be prevented virtually by practicing safe blood, sex and needle as there is still no vaccination for Hepatitis C.

The genotype of hepatitis C infection should be known. For genotype 1,4,6 the treatment duration is for one year and the cure percentage is 50 to 60 percent. Genotypes 2 or 3 are easy to treat and the treatment duration is six months and the cure percentage is 75-80 percent. Treatment includes injection twice a week and tablets. The treatment should be under the guidance of proper blood tests and doctors.

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