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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects the liver, where it causes significant inflammation, damage and disruption of normal liver function. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 3 to 4 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C every year.

The hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected individual and, most commonly, people catch it through sharing contaminated needles when injecting illegal drugs.

Hepatitis C infection is categorized into an acute and a chronic stage. The acute phase describes the first 6 months of infection when there are not necessarily any symptoms. Around one quarter of people manage to clear the infection during this stage before disease progresses to the chronic stage.

People who go on to develop chronic hepatitis C may develop jaundice which turns the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. This is caused by the build-up of a yellow-colored substance in the blood called bilirubin that would usually be broken down by the liver if it was healthy. Chronic infection may eventually cause fibrosis and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, liver cancer or end stage liver failure.

Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medications that that are designed to disrupt the multiplication of virus particles inside the body and prevent liver damage.
Novartis gets three FDA approvals for expanded use of biologic drug to treat rare autoinflammatory diseases

Novartis gets three FDA approvals for expanded use of biologic drug to treat rare autoinflammatory diseases

Novartis announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted three simultaneous approvals for the expanded use of Ilaris (canakinumab) to treat three rare and distinct types of Periodic Fever Syndromes. [More]
New global health strategy aims to eliminate HCV as global public health threat by 2030

New global health strategy aims to eliminate HCV as global public health threat by 2030

Chronic infection by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) proved fatal for over 700,000 people worldwide in 2013, mainly as a result of liver damage. Although information on the epidemiology of transmission and infection is sparse, recent estimates put the global prevalence of HCV infection at 130-150 million people. [More]
Mice study finds new antiviral that can control flu infection

Mice study finds new antiviral that can control flu infection

A molecule the body produces naturally in response to virus infection could be a viable flu treatment in the future, suggest researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London. [More]
Experts recommend removal of restrictions in accessing new hepatitis C therapies for drug users

Experts recommend removal of restrictions in accessing new hepatitis C therapies for drug users

Global health experts are today are calling for the removal of restrictions preventing people who use drugs from accessing new hepatitis C cures. So long as these restrictions exist, the goal of disease elimination will remain out of reach, they say. [More]
Hospitalizations for injection drug use-related infective endocarditis increasing among young Americans

Hospitalizations for injection drug use-related infective endocarditis increasing among young Americans

Hospitalizations for infective endocarditis, a heart valve infection often attributed to injection drug use, have increased significantly among young adult Americans--particularly in whites and females--according to a new study by researchers from Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine. [More]
People with migraine feel isolated, stigmatized and often dissatisfied with treatment, survey reveals

People with migraine feel isolated, stigmatized and often dissatisfied with treatment, survey reveals

Migraine in America 2016, a national survey by Health Union of more than 3,900 individuals experiencing migraines, reveals that patients have numerous treatment options, but are often dissatisfied with results. [More]
Study shows many older jail inmates experience health-related distressing symptoms

Study shows many older jail inmates experience health-related distressing symptoms

More than 550,000 adults 55-years-old and older are arrested and detained every year--and that number is increasing rapidly. [More]
Liver cancer time-bomb as up to 70% people with Hep C miss out on follow-up testing

Liver cancer time-bomb as up to 70% people with Hep C miss out on follow-up testing

Up to 70 per cent of Victorians with suspected hepatitis C may not have received follow-up testing, putting them at risk of chronic liver disease and even cancer, University of Melbourne researchers say. [More]
HIV-infected adults with MDD more likely to experience heart attack, study shows

HIV-infected adults with MDD more likely to experience heart attack, study shows

Among more than 26,000 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults, those with major depressive disorder (MDD) were more likely to experience a heart attack than those without MDD, according to a study published online by JAMA Cardiology. [More]
Researchers urge people with suspected hepatitis C to get tested to prevent risk of liver disease

Researchers urge people with suspected hepatitis C to get tested to prevent risk of liver disease

Up to 70 per cent of Victorians with suspected hepatitis C may not have received follow-up testing, putting them at risk of chronic liver disease and even cancer, University of Melbourne researchers say. [More]
MGH investigators discover key molecules essential for sensing proteasome dysfunction

MGH investigators discover key molecules essential for sensing proteasome dysfunction

Maintaining appropriate levels of proteins within cells largely relies on a cellular component called the proteasome, which degrades unneeded or defective proteins to recycle the components for the eventual assembly of new proteins. [More]
USC researchers discover two Zika proteins potentially responsible for microcephaly

USC researchers discover two Zika proteins potentially responsible for microcephaly

USC researchers have tracked down two Zika proteins potentially responsible for thousands of microcephaly cases in Brazil and elsewhere — taking one small step toward preventing Zika-infected mothers from birthing babies with abnormally small heads. [More]
Increased treatment for HCV in Rhode Island could help eradicate disease by 2030

Increased treatment for HCV in Rhode Island could help eradicate disease by 2030

A new Brown University study projects that increasing the number of Rhode Islanders treated every year for hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) to about 2,000 by 2020 would reduce cases by 90 percent and prevent more than 70 percent of expected liver-related deaths in the state by 2030. [More]
Cell-free DNA test could help identify liver transplant patients with acute rejection

Cell-free DNA test could help identify liver transplant patients with acute rejection

Today, researchers presented findings at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting that DNA found circulating in the bloodstream—known as cell-free DNA—can be used to identify liver transplant patients with acute rejection with greater accuracy than conventional liver function tests. [More]
New report urges all European countries to adopt universal vaccination for hepatitis

New report urges all European countries to adopt universal vaccination for hepatitis

To coincide with World Hepatitis Day, a new report, commissioned by United European Gastroenterology, calls for all European countries to adopt universal vaccination and harmonised screening programmes for hepatitis, as well as improved neonatal screening, to help speed up the eradication of the disease. [More]
Researchers identify new mechanisms capable of suppressing propagation of HCV

Researchers identify new mechanisms capable of suppressing propagation of HCV

Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions. [More]
New screen-and-treat programme for hepatitis B may thwart deadly complications of disease

New screen-and-treat programme for hepatitis B may thwart deadly complications of disease

Research into Africa's first 'screen-and-treat' programme for hepatitis B suggests the initiative may reduce deadly complications of the virus. [More]
Researchers find easy way to ensure baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C

Researchers find easy way to ensure baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C

Baby boomers, adults born between 1945 and 1965, are five times more likely to have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). [More]

New online learning activity may help GPs manage hepatitis C patients in primary care

A new online learning module, Managing hepatitis C in primary care, provides GPs with an update on the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of people with chronic hepatitis C infection. [More]
WHO urges countries to take rapid action to reduce new infections, deaths from viral hepatitis

WHO urges countries to take rapid action to reduce new infections, deaths from viral hepatitis

Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2016, WHO is urging countries to take rapid action to improve knowledge about the disease, and to increase access to testing and treatment services. [More]
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