Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both acute and chronic infection. Acute HCV infection is usually asymptomatic, and is only very rarely associated with life-threatening disease. AThe incubation period for hepatitis C is 2 weeks to 6 months. Following initial infection, approximately 80% of people do not exhibit any symptoms. Those who are acutely symptomatic may exhibit fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, and jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes).
Hepatitis C caused due to contact with contaminated blood or needles used to inject illegal drugs or draw tattoos. Sometimes you don't get any symptoms, or just mild ones. But in some cases hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis, a risky scarring of your liver. HCV infection is diagnosed in 2 steps: Screening for anti-HCV antibodies with a serological test identifies people who have been infected with the virus. If the test is positive for anti-HCV antibodies, a nucleic acid test for HCV RNA is needed to confirm chronic HCV infection.
Hepatitis C does not always require treatment as the immune response in some people will clear the infection, and some people with chronic infection do not develop liver damage. Each of the hepatitis viruses causes similar liver damage. The inflammatory process is activated throughout the whole liver, and hepatocytes are destroyed by cytotoxic cytokines and natural killer cells, both parts of the inflammatory process. Cellular necrosis takes place. If inflammation affects the periportal areas, cholestasis, or the interruption of the flow of bile takes place.The person feels malaise, rash, arthritis, fever and angioedema from this activation.
An estimated 220,697 to 245,987 Canadians were living with chronic hepatitis C. That is the equivalent of six to seven people out of every 1,000 Canadians (or 0.6% to 0.7% of the total Canadian population).An estimated 44% of people living with chronic hepatitis C infection were unaware of their status (97,107 to 108,234 Canadians).Chronic hepatitis C was most prevalent among people born in 1955 to 1959 (1.5%), followed by those born in 1950 to 1954 (1.25%); 1960 to 1964 (1.2%); 1965 to 1969 (1.1%); and 1970 to 1974 (0.8%).