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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.
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]
Buprenorphine implants could be effective option to treat adults with opioid dependence

Buprenorphine implants could be effective option to treat adults with opioid dependence

While buprenorphine has long been used to treat adults with opioid dependence, its efficacy can be hindered by lack of adherence to daily, sublingual (beneath the tongue) doses of the medication. [More]
First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

Université Laval's Infectious Disease Research Centre and Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval are proud to announce that the first clinical study for a Zika vaccine in Canada is set to begin in Quebec City. [More]
Scientists discover promising approach to combat life-threatening bacterial infections without antibiotics

Scientists discover promising approach to combat life-threatening bacterial infections without antibiotics

Patients suffering from liver cirrhosis often die of life-threatening bacterial infections. In these patients the immune cells are unable to eliminate the bacterial infections. [More]

Researchers examine prevalence of CLD among ethnic minority populations in the U.S.

Chronic liver disease (CLD) and cirrhosis are serious liver conditions but little is known about how they affect ethnic minority populations in the United States. [More]
Mass incarceration of drug users leads to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis among prisoners

Mass incarceration of drug users leads to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis among prisoners

The War on Drugs, mass incarceration of drug users, and the failure to provide proven harm reduction and treatment strategies has led to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C infection among prisoners—far higher than in the general population. [More]
New report reveals prescription medication costs may increase up to 13% in 2016

New report reveals prescription medication costs may increase up to 13% in 2016

Prescription medication costs are expected to rise at least 11 percent, and possibly up to 13 percent, in 2016, according to a new report on national trends and projections in prescription drug expenditures. [More]
Research highlights global burden of HIV and other infectious diseases among prisoners and detainees

Research highlights global burden of HIV and other infectious diseases among prisoners and detainees

Prisoners and detainees worldwide have higher burdens of HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis than the communities from which they come, and the regular cycling of infected people in and out of incarceration is worsening the epidemics both inside and outside of prison, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests. [More]
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