peer response about Hepatitis C Virus
Discovery of the single stranded RNA virus, known as Hepatitis C (HCV) transpired in 1989. Before official discovery, it took the name: non-A, non-B hepatitis virus. Hepatitis A and B were already known viruses associated with blood transfusions, but soon came cases where neither A or B were present in the blood sampled of hepatitis patients. The virus Hepatitis C causes HCV and inflames the liver, this bloodborne virus is contracted in the body via blood-to-blood contact. The common modes of transmission are health-associated transmission by improper sterilization of medical equipment, transfusion of unscreened blood, and sharing of needles by drug users. HCV can also be contracted via vertical transmission from mother to child during birth and men who participate in intercourse with other men.
HCV can cause both acute and chronic conditions. It starts off as acute, which only lasts about six months and fought off by the immune system. The actue stage of HCV typically does not present any symptoms but can very rarely cause jaundice, fatigue, dark-colored urine, abdominal pain, nausea, fever, loss of appetite and diarrhea. If it persists past six months, you reach the chronic phase, here people see severe scarring to the liver and liver cirrhosis. When in the chronic phase, symptoms may consist of bruising and bleeding easily, ascites, itching, and star-shaped vein pattern on the belly. The chronic phase can progress slowly or quickly, depending on the patient.
There is no vaccination that prevents this disease but treatment is not always necessary if contracted. Treatments are available if HCV becomes chronic. The World Health Organization, known as WHO, (2022), recommends therapy with pan-genotypic direct-acting antivirals (DAA’s). The treatment is for children over the age of 12 years old and only takes about 12 to 24 weeks to complete.
According to a study, HCV infection among young persons who inject drugs increased more in 2012 than in 2006. Suryaprasad et al. (2014), stated that in 2012 at least 30 more states east of the Mississippi river reported HCV infection than in 2006. Despite the alarming increase in cases, an article written in 2016 mentions strategies that will lead us in a positive direction for hopefully eradicating HCV completely one day. Lanini et al.(2016), provided us with five strategic directions we should take to reduce incidence rates by 70% by the year 2030: the who and where, the what, the how, the financing and the future.
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