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.The 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, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-coloured faeces, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes).
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. When treatment is necessary, the goal of hepatitis C treatment is cure.
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. Of 267 cases enrolled in the study, 143 were children and 124 were adults. Males (62.54%) outnumbered females (37.45%). Total 23.22% (62/267) cases developed encephalopathy during their illness and were therefore labelled as acute hepatic failure. The viral aetiology was confirmed in 161 (60.29%) cases while in 106 (39.70%) cases no hepatitis virus could be detected.