Awareness Details

Hepatitis C

Introduction:Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common chronic liver disease and accounts for 8000 to 13,000 deaths each year. In South Asia HCV prevalence is 1.5 - 3.5 %. According to one study 8% of Pakistani population is infected with hepatitis C. Primary target organ for HCV is liver and 80% patients develop chronic HCV infection leading to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The causative agent is HCV that belongs to Flaviviridae family.

Transmission: It is transmitted via unscreened blood and blood products. Use of unsterile surgical instruments. Reuse of syringes and use of contaminated razors etc. It is also transmitted from infected mother to child. Sexual transmission is also documented.

Clinical Manifestations: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis. The acute process is self-limited, rarely causes hepatic failure, and usually leads to chronic infection. Chronic HCV infection often follows a progressive course over many years and can ultimately result in cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the need for liver transplantation. Most patients with chronic infection are asymptomatic or have only mild nonspecific symptoms. Among those who have symptoms, the most frequent complaint is fatigue; other less common manifestations include nausea, anorexia, myalgia, arthralgia, weakness, and weight loss.

Treatment: Discovery of direct acting antivirals has revolutionized the treatment of HCV. Sofosbuvir is available in Pakistan it had good therapeutic profile and is tolerated well by patients. It is being given along with Ribavarin.

Prevention: Hepatitis C transmission can be prevented by regular screening of blood and blood products. Implementation of safe needle practices. Use of sterilized surgical instrument and razors. Avoiding high risk sexual practices and intravenous drug use.

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