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Hepatitis C in the United States

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Hepatitis C infection is still a significant issue in the United States. Nationwide, the number of cases is estimated at 2.7 to 3.9 million. The age distribution is unusual: there is one peak around age 25, and another peak around age 50.

Shauna Onofrey and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported these findings from data provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Non-hispanic whites have the highest rates; males and females are equally affected.

Samina Noorali and colleagues at Claflin University in South Carolina provided a review of this disease. Hepatitis actually has two meanings: (1) inflammation of the liver, and (2) a family of viral infections of the liver. The viruses are identified by letters. Hepatitis A, B, and C are most common in the United States, while D, E, and G are less common. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is related to viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis.

HCV is transmitted mainly through blood. Before tests were developed to screen donated blood, transfusions were a common source of HCV infection. Today injection drug use, with sharing of contaminated needles, is believed to cause more than 60 percent of cases. Other transmission routes are organ transplants, accidental needle sticks, sex with an infected partner, and birth to an infected mother.

The incubation period for HCV infection ranges from two weeks to six months. Most patients have no symptoms. Approximately 20 to 30 percent have jaundice, and another 10 to 20 percent have nonspecific flu-like symptoms, including loss of appetite, fatigue, and abdominal pain. The majority, around 70 percent, develop chronic hepatitis, which is a common cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

“The progression of chronic liver disease is usually insidious; it is slow and without symptoms or physical signs in most patients during the first two decades after infection,” Noorali explained. Standard treatment is pegylated interferon-alpha in combination with ribavirin. No vaccine is yet available.

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EmpowHER Guest

I have Hepatitis and I am an engineer who works for the largest herpes dating and support site STDslove. com. I have to tell you a secret, you can choose not to
believe me. But the truth is that this site has more than 1,880,000 members and about 80% members are good looking in my estimation.

Unfortunately, STD rates soar worldwide and most people with STDs don't even know that they have them. So do use a condom to protect yourself!!!!
The government should grant more money for STD education to lower the rates of STD transmission.

July 19, 2011 - 6:24pm
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