What Causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C occurs as the result of percutaneous transmission of the hepatitis C virus through infectious blood. Percutaneous means the infected blood must be absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream of another person – in other words, blood-to-blood. Hepatitis C is approximately seven times more infectious than HIV.
Hepatitis C is most commonly transmitted in the following manner:
- Intravenous drug use (injection) – Currently, the most common means of Hepatitis C transmission in the United States, approximately 10 million injection drug users (IDUs) worldwide might be infected with the Hepatitis C virus
- Blood and Blood Product Transfusions (before 1992)
- Organ Transplants (before 1992)
- Hemodialysis (before 1990)
- Healthcare and Occupational Exposure (needle-stick injuries)
- Intranasal Drug Use (snorting drugs through a straw)
- Tattooing and Body Piercing
- Birth to an HCV infected mother
- Sexual Contact
- Household Contact (sharing of personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, scissors and manicuring equipment within the same household)
- Medical Procedures
Hepatitis C is not transmitted by casual contact like hugging or kissing, nor is it transmitted through breast milk (unless the mother’s nipples are cracked or bleeding), food, water or sharing food or water with an infected person.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Hepatitis C, FAQs for Health Professionals” http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/HCVfaq.htm#section1 Retrieved October 28, 2011
HCV Advocate “A Guide to Hepatitis C Treatment Side Effect Management” http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Treatment_Side_effect_Guide.pdf Retrieved October 28, 2011
Hepatitis-Central.com “Hepatitis C Progress Hampered by Re-Infection and Superinfection” http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2009/05/hepatitis_c_pro_1.html Retrieved October 28, 2011
HIVand Hepatitis.com “Telaprevir Plus Standard Therapy Can Produce Hepatitis C Cure in Less Time” http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hepatitis-c/hepatitis-c-topics/hcv-treatment/3235-telaprevir-plus-standard-therapy-can-produce-hepatitis-c-cure-in-less-time Retrieved October 28, 2011
Journal of General Virology “Hepatitis C virus superinfection of liver grafts: a detailed analysis of early exclusion of non-dominant virus strains” http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/91/5/1183.short Retrieved October 28, 2011
Massage Today “What is Massage?” http://www.massagetoday.com/aboutmt/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
Mayo Clinic “Hepatitis C” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hepatitis-c/DS00097 Retrieved October 28, 2011
National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases “What I Need to Know About Hepatitis C” http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepc_ez/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
Official Journal of the International Aids Society “Sexually Transmitted Hepatitis C Virus Superinfection in HIV/Hepatitis C Virus co-infected men Who Have Sex With Men” http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/fulltext/2008/03120/sexually_transmitted_hepatitis_c_virus.16.aspx Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Hepatoprotective Properties of Silymarin” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21560654 Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Milk Thistle in Liver Diseases: Past, Present, Future” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Milk%20thistle%20in%20liver%20diseases%20past%2C%20present%20and%20future Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Multiple effects of silymarin on the hepatitis C virus lifecycle” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=multiple%20effects%20of%20silymarin%20on%20the%20hepatitis%20c%20virus%20lifecycle Retrieved October 28, 2011
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health “Silybin and the Liver: from basic research to clinical practice” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Silybin%20and%20the%20liver%3A%20from%20basic%20research%20to%20clinical%20practice Retrieved October 28, 2011
Vertex Pharmaceuticals "Medication Guide - Incivek™" http://pi.vrtx.com/files/usmedguide_telaprevir.pdf. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
Merck "Medication Guide - Victrelis™" http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/victrelis/victrelis_mg.pdf. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
WebMD “Hepatitis Health Center, Hepatitis C” http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepc-guide/default.htm Retrieved October 28, 2011
World Health Organization “Hepatitis C” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/ Retrieved October 28, 2011
Some of our most commonly asked questions and our answers to them.
Learn about the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
Information about the transmission of Hepatitis C.
You'll find links to a comprehensive symptoms list, as well as various studies and discussions about Hepatitis C symptoms.
Learn about the conventional medical treatments used to fight Hepatitis C.
Numerous links to studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis of Ribavirin/Rebetron medicines.
Alternative methods of treatment due to side effects and dissatisfication with current medical treatments.
A number of herbal products useful in the management of liver disease.
Receive the latest news on hepatitis treatments, clinical trials, social issues and important breakthroughs.
Learn about Hepatitis C Genotypes and their variants.
A state-by-state and worldwide reference listing physicians who treat HCV, including an email link to submit your physician for inclusion.
Convenient links to other sites external to Hepatitis-Central.
A Bulletin Board for discussions on hepatitis, treatments, etc.
An easy way to get involved in urging our government to do more for Hepatitis C awareness and treatment research.
Numerous links to various Hepatitis B related information, including transmission, symptoms and treatment.
A comprehensive resource of information relating to the liver biopsy.
Many discussions and analyses of cirrhosis, including causes, complications, pathology, symptoms, and much more.
Commonly used medical terms and definitions.
What they are and what they mean. Helps you interpret & understand all the various hepatitis lab tests likely to be encountered.
Liver Cancer/Hepatocellular Carcinoma studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis.
An exhaustive list of links to studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis of the various drugs used to treat liver disease.
Provides information regarding the best known liver supporting supplements.
Provides detailed information on how to analyze and interpret viral load numbers as well as a link to a convenient Viral Load Chart.
Learn more about various Hepatitis C related topics, including HCV, Ascites, Biopsies, and much more.
Recommended reading for those interested in hepatitis information.