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Hepatitis C

The Hepatitis C virus was discovered in late 1980s and was initially referred to as a "not-A-not-B" hepatitis virus. It is an RNA virus.

A test is today available to find, by blood analysis, if there is an infection, so it is now possible to have a routine check for infection (by the exact genotype).

The infection is spread almost exclusively by blood exchange and with sexual acts (see also sexually transmitted disease), but before the test became available, blood transfusion and use of emoderivates[?] were cause for many infections.

Although it can be spread sexually, and vertically (from mother to child), transmission by these routes is not as likely as with hepatitis B. In most developed countries[?] it is usally seen in intravenous drug[?] users.

In most cases, the disease gives no symptoms and becomes chronic, causing long term damage to the liver, including hepatocellular carcinoma.

The therapy is mainly based on interferon, combined with other drugs; though this action does not guarantee results. Currently, the preferred treatment is pegylated interferon together with ribavirin.

Alternative therapies are proposed that can perhaps be considered ways to reduce the liver's duties, rather than treat the virus itself. This will not affect the course of the disease or quality of life of the person.


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