2 Important Information Hepatitis C is a virus that causes a liver infection. It can lead to liver damage over time as well as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a small, enveloped, single-stranded, positive sense RNA virus.
3 How the Virus is Transmitted? The hepatitis C virus is spread by contact with an infected person's blood.You can get it if:You share needles and other equipment used to inject illegal drugs. This is the most common way to get hepatitis C in the United States.You had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before As of 1992 in the United States, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C.･You get a shot with a needle that has infected blood on it. This happens in some developing countries where they use needles more than once when giving shots.In rare cases, a mother with hepatitis C spreads the virus to her baby at birth, or a health care worker is accidentally exposed to blood that is infected with hepatitis C.
4 What are the Symptoms?Many people have no symptoms when they are first infected with the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C can lead to liver problems.Other symptoms include:Feeling very tiredJoint painBelly painItchy skinSore musclesDark urineYellowish eyes and skin (jaundice). Jaundice usually appears only after other symptoms have started to go away.Most people go on to develop chronic hepatitis C but still do not have symptoms. This makes it common for people to have hepatitis C for 15 years or longer before it is diagnosed.
5 CirrhosisHepatitis C damages your liver very slowly and can lead to cirrhosis.If you develop cirrhosis, you may have:･Redness on the palms of your hands caused by expanded small blood vessels.･Clusters of blood vessels just below the skin that look like tiny red spiders and usually appear on your chest, shoulders, and face.･Swelling of your belly, legs, and feet.･Muscle shrinking.･Bleeding from enlarged veins in your digestive tract, which is called variceal bleeding. Variceal bleeding can be very serious even though you may not have previous symptoms of the problem.･Damage to your brain and nervous system, which is called encephalopathy. Encephalopathy can cause symptoms such as confusion and memory and concentration problems.