Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes hepatitis C either in an acute or chronic form in the liver. Acute HCV viruses are, in most cases, asymptomatic and pose no threat to life. Approximately 30% of the HCV infected people can get rid of the virus from their body within six months with no treatment.
If the body cannot get rid of the virus, it will develop chronic HCV liver infection. The chances of getting liver cirrhosis once the disease has become chronic are about 15-30%.
HCV has an overall fecundation period ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months. 80% of infected people will not show any symptoms during the initial stages. The acutely symptomatic will exhibit fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice and joint pain. Symptoms may also include darkening of the urine and pale faeces.
There is no treatment in the initial stages because our immune system can get rid of the virus from the body. If the infection becomes chronic, Liver Damage treatment is a must.
WHO recommends therapy that involves pan-genotypic DAAs for patients over 12. DAA, in most cases, cures the patients within a short duration of 12 to 24 weeks, provided there is no cirrhosis.
Pan-genotypic DAAs are often costly and are not available to everyone. However, there has been a drop in the prices in some liver transplant hospitals in Chennai. Though the demand-supply gap has improved, the drug has not yet become available to everyone.
There is no vaccine to protect against HCV. So, the only way to avoid getting infected is to reduce the risk of exposure to the disease willingly.
Experts around the world suggest several preventive measures.
These measures include:
- Safe use of syringes and injections
- Proper disposal of medical waste, including syringes and needles
- Providing comprehensive harm-reduction services to people who need to inject drugs
- Testing the blood sample for the HCV virus before blood donation.
- Sterilising syringes, needles and other hospital equipment
Contracting HCV increases your vulnerability to many other health complications. Contact the Chennai Liver Foundation, a renowned liver transplant hospital in Chennai, to get immediate medical attention.