Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C
People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who
- have injected drugs
- had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
- have been on kidney dialysis
- have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
- have had tattoos or body piercings
- have worked or lived in a prison
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C
- are infected with HIV
- have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
- are men who have or had sex with men
In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13
If You Notice Symptoms See A Doctor Right Away
Symptoms of hepatitis C include the following:
- Jaundice a yellowish tone to the eyes and skin
- Mild, chronic right belly pain
- Loss of appetite
If you believe you have been exposed to hepatitis C or notice any symptoms, visit your primary care doctor as soon as possible. If you test positive for the virus, your doctor can refer you to a hepatologist to discuss your options.
“I strongly encourage all baby boomers and others who are at high risk to get tested, even if you don’t look or feel sick,” Reau says. “If you do have hepatitis C, the earlier we discover it, the more likely we can prevent it from progressing and causing more serious damage.”
Why Interferons Cause Long
Interferon treatment for hepatitis C would typically last 2448 weeks . Interferons caused many long-term side effects partly because of this long treatment time.
Using the drug for this length of time gave side effects a chance to develop and get worse.
The more common long-term side effects of interferons are typically less severe. These side effects can include:
- swelling or other reactions at the injection site
- flu-like symptoms such as headache, tiredness, and weakness
- low levels of white blood cells
- loss of appetite
- itchy skin
If you have these side effects and youre concerned that they relate to your interferon exposure, call your doctor. They can assess you and determine if the interferons or something else is causing your symptoms.
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What Causes Hepatitis B
The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood, semen, or other body fluids. Contact can occur by
- being born to a mother with hepatitis B
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with tools that were used on an infected person and werent properly sterilized, or cleaned in a way that destroys all viruses and other microbes
- having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
You cant get hepatitis B from
- being coughed on or sneezed on by an infected person
- drinking unclean water or untreated water that has not been boiled
- eating food that is unclean or has not been properly cooked
- hugging an infected person
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
- sitting next to an infected person
Mothers who have hepatitis B can safely breastfeed their babies. If a baby receives hepatitis B immune globulin and starts receiving the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent hepatitis B infection shortly after birth, hepatitis B is unlikely to spread from mother to child through breastfeeding.15
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
During the acute phase most persons have no symptoms or might experience a mild illness. Symptoms of acute HCV infection, when present, may include:
- Dark-colored urine, light-colored stools
During the chronic phase hepatitis C usually progresses silently, with no symptoms at all during the first 10-20 years. Signs of severe liver scarring may include:
- Star-shaped vein pattern developing on the swollen belly
- Easy bruising and bleeding
Because symptoms of hepatitis C are usually absent, persons with risk for HCV infection should be tested. The blood test for hepatitis C infection is called the hepatitis C antibody test. People who have hepatitis C infection will show positive antibodies on this test. In many cases, it is necessary to confirm a positive hepatitis C antibody test with a more specific test, such as a test for HCV virus RNA.
If you think you have hepatitis C or have risk for hepatitis C, you should contact your doctor. The Communicable Disease Control Unit may be able to help answer your questions.
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Effects Of Parasitic Worms On The Immune System
The effects of parasitic worms, or helminths, on the immune system is a recently emerging topic of study among immunologists and other biologists. Experiments have involved a wide range of parasites, diseases, and hosts. The effects on humans have been of special interest. The tendency of many parasitic worms to pacify the host’s immune response allows them to mollify some diseases, while worsening others.
Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis B
Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis B. Many people who have hepatitis B dont have symptoms and dont know they are infected with hepatitis B. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis B, which can lower your chances of developing serious health problems.
Your doctor may recommend screening for hepatitis B if you9,14
- are pregnant
- were born in an area of the world where 2 percent or more of the population has hepatitis B infection, which includes Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America
- didnt receive the hepatitis B vaccine as an infant and have parents who were born in an area where 8 percent or more of the population had hepatitis B infection, which includes sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia
- are HIV-positive
- are a man who has sex with men
- have lived with or had sex with a person who has hepatitis B
- have an increased chance of infection due to other factors
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Treatment To Ease Symptoms And Prevent Complications
Various treatments may be advised, depending on the severity of the cirrhosis and the symptoms that develop. For example:
- Adequate food intake and regular exercise are important to prevent excessive weight loss and muscle wasting.
- A low-sodium diet or ‘water’ tablets to reduce fluid accumulating in the body.
- Medicines to reduce itch.
- ‘Thinning’ of the bones may occur and so prevention and treatment of osteoporosis are important.
- Medicines that may help to reduce portal hypertension.
- Drainage of fluid that builds up in the tummy – called ascites.
What Type Of Doctor Treats Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is treated by either a gastroenterologist, a hepatologist , or an infectious disease specialist. The treatment team may include more than one specialist, depending on the extent of liver damage.Surgeons who specialize in surgery of the liver, including liver transplantation, are part of the medical team and should see patients with advanced disease early, before the patient needs a liver transplant. They may be able to identify issues that need to be addressed before surgery can be considered. Other persons who can be helpful in managing patients include dietitians to consult on nutritional issues and pharmacists to assist with management of drugs.
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Characterization Of Liver Microenvironment
Three components of liver pathogenesis in CHC were considered in this manuscript: liver HCV infection, the inflammatory infiltrate, and the cytokine milieu. Clinical, virological, and histological features of the patients are described in Table 1.
Table 1 Clinical, virological and histological patient features.
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. The hepatitis A virus is highly infectious and is spread when traces of faeces containing the virus contaminate hands, objects, water or food.
Anyone can be infected with hepatitis A if they ingest food, drinks or traces of the virus on objects contaminated by the faeces of an infected person.
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Blood And Vessel Problems
People with hepatitis C often get a condition called cryoglobulinemia. This happens when certain proteins in your blood stick together in cold weather. They can build up in vessels and block blood flow, which causes swelling and damage. The condition can affect your skin, organs, nerves, and joints.
Hepatitis C also can cause problems with blood itself. You may not make enough white blood cells, which fight infections, or platelets, which help your blood clot.
The infection can also make you bruise easily or get red or purple spots under your skin. Those are signs of a bleeding disorder called immune thrombocytopenic purpura.
Is There A Cure For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C treatment with direct-acting antiviral medications cures most people with the virus. Treatments are simple to take, have few side effects and are usually taken for 12 weeks or less. If a person is cured through treatment it means the virus is no longer in their body. The earlier that someone is treated, the less likely they are to develop advanced liver damage.
When a person is cured, the liver damage usually stops progressing and the liver will begin to heal in some people.34 This is less likely to happen for people who have advanced cirrhosis.35 For a small proportion of people who are cured of hepatitis C, the liver continues to become injured and progresses to cirrhosis. This is usually linked to other factors such as alcohol use or fatty liver disease.34 Being cured of hepatitis C decreases the likelihood of a person getting liver cancer, liver failure or dying from liver problems.36 People with advanced liver disease will need to be followed up with regular ultrasound scans after cure because there is still a risk of liver cancer developing. There are also many non-liver related health benefits from being cured of hepatitis C, including a reduced risk of diabetes mellitus, mixed cryoglobulinaemia , glomerulonephritis , porphyria cutanea tarda , and possibly non-Hodgkin lymphoma .37
Being cured of hepatitis C does not give a person immunity. A person can become infected again if they are exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
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Prophylactic Vaccination And Coinfection
Continuing advances in chemotherapeutic regimens are promising for effecting cures of HCV and may reduce transmission. However, they are unlikely to control HCV given that therapy for HCV does not provide immunity against subsequent infection and access t o therapy is limited for many of those infected. IDUs and high-risk groups such as health-care providers and men who have sex with men are at risk for new infections and will continue to be at increased risk of infection despite better regimens for HCV treatment. HCV transmission is likely to persist in areas with limited access to antiviral drugs and poor needle injection and blood product hygiene. It has been estimated that fewer than 50% of HCV-infected persons are diagnosed in most developed countries and he proportion of patients who access and complete treatment remains low. The numbers of patients aware of and accessing care are substantially lower in less developed countries. For these reasons as well as the cost of therapy, HCV therapy may not have a significant impact on the disease in many parts of the world and may have minimal impact in blocking the spread of infection within the human population. Therefore, development of a vaccine to prevent chronic HCV infection, if not to prevent infection altogether, is essential for control of HCV disease.
How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis C
If hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order an ultrasound test to check for liver cancer.
If hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact.
Some ways the infection can be spread include:
- sharing unsterilised needles particularly needles used to inject recreational drugs
- sharing razors or toothbrushes
- from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby
- through unprotected sex although this is very rare
In the UK, most hepatitis C infections happen in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past.
It’s estimated around half of those who inject drugs have been infected with the virus.
Autoimmune Hepatitis Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes your immune system to turn against your liver. Your genes may have something to do with it, since AIH can run in families.
But genes aren’t the whole story. Something you come into contact with may trigger your genes to set autoimmune hepatitis in motion. This could include:
- Medicines such as statins and hydralazine or antibiotics like nitrofurantoin and minocycline
- Infections such as viral hepatitis, herpes, Epstein-Barr, and measles
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How Is Autoimmune Hepatitis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will look at your health history and give you a physical exam.
Some lab blood tests used to diagnose autoimmune hepatitis include:
- Liver function tests. These check for inflammation or damage to your liver.
- Complete blood count or CBC. Looks at the number and types of cells in your blood.
- Coagulation panel. This test looks at how well the clotting proteins are working.
- Electrolyte panel. Checks to see if you have an electrolyte imbalance.
- Autoimmune antibodies. These are used to see if you have autoimmune hepatitis or another liver disease with similar symptoms.
- Other liver tests. These are done to check for other possible types of liver disease.
You may also have imaging tests such as:
Hepatitis C And Injecting Drugs
If you inject drugs, avoid sharing needles, syringes or other equipment such as tourniquets, spoons, swabs or water.
Where possible, always use sterile needles and syringes. These are available free of charge from needle and syringe programs and some pharmacists. To find out where you can obtain free needles, syringes and other injecting equipment, contact DirectLine
Try to wash your hands before and after injecting. If you cant do this, use hand sanitiser or alcohol swabs from a needle and syringe program service.
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Viral Proteins As Molecular Mediators Of Immune Escape
Once viral infection of host cells is established the translation and expression of viral proteins may release molecular compounds that can interfere with host immunity, enabling the virus to evade immune elimination or control. A number of viruses use these mechanisms of immune escape.
Investigation of the immunomodulatory actions of HCV proteins is beginning to reveal interesting observations. Adenovirus vector mediated gene transfer of HCV core and envelope genes into murine dendritic cells has revealed defects in their ability to stimulate other immunocytes and in their production of IL-12.Further research is very likely to reveal similar properties of HBV and HCV proteins. HCV core protein has been shown to be capable of binding to the lymphotoxin- receptor, a member of the TNF receptor family, which is involved in apoptotic signalling and may exert immunomodulatory effects.
Mechanisms Of Chronicity In Hcv Infection
Failure to eradicate HCV results in the development of chronic HCV infection, with resultant chronic hepatitis, after which a significant proportion of persons will develop cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The mechanism by which chronic HCV infection develops and persists in the majority of infected persons remains unclear, but it does so despite the presence of HCV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in the peripheral blood and the liver, which suggests that these responses are, for the most part, ineffective . It is likely that HCV has developed a number of means to evade host defenses, although most literature has focused on the role that quasi-species variability plays as a mechanism of escaping immune defenses . However, several other potential mechanisms have been reported, which suggests that there are multiple means by which this virus interferes with an effective immune response. These include interference with the endogenous IFN system , suppression of host immune responses by HCV proteins through interference with T cell function , and possible abnormal dendritic cell function , among others.
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Where Can I Get Sterile Injecting Equipment While This Is Going On
Many Needle and Syringe Program outlets in NSW are changing the way they work with clients and customers. Some injecting equipment can be sent in the post, you can pick up bulk orders, and some opening times might have changed.
The NSP directory can help you find the nearest place to pick up injecting equipment > > > CLICK HERE.Call to see if anything has changed.
You can also contact NUAA who may be able to help out with any injecting equipment needs you might have. NUAA are currently taking mail orders. Call them on 1800 644 413 or contact via their website.
Chronic Hepatitis B Complications
Chronic hepatitis B can lead to
- cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and prevents your liver from working normally. Scar tissue also partly blocks the flow of blood through the liver. As cirrhosis gets worse, the liver begins to fail.
- liver failure, in which your liver is badly damaged and stops working. Liver failure is also called end-stage liver disease. People with liver failure may require a liver transplant.
- liver cancer. Your doctor may suggest blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer. Finding cancer at an early stage improves the chance of curing the cancer.
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