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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.
New study raises serious safety concerns in clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver injury

New study raises serious safety concerns in clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver injury

Many acute and chronic liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis, result from apoptotic (programmed) cell death mediated by the enzyme caspase. [More]
Wyss Institute wins 'Best of What's New' award for paper-based rapid Zika test

Wyss Institute wins 'Best of What's New' award for paper-based rapid Zika test

A rapid Zika test, developed by an international, multi-institutional team of researchers led by synthetic biologist James Collins, Ph.D., at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, has today been named a 2016 "Best of What's New" awards winner by Popular Science magazine in the Health category. [More]
Many Canadian territories restrict access to medications for treating hepatitis C, study finds

Many Canadian territories restrict access to medications for treating hepatitis C, study finds

A study conducted by Canadian and Australian researchers shows that nearly everywhere in Canada, the provinces and territories impose obstacles to reimbursement of new direct-acting antivirals (DAA) to treat hepatitis C by because of their cost. [More]
Japanese researchers identify mechanism for hormone that limits liver fibrosis

Japanese researchers identify mechanism for hormone that limits liver fibrosis

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has been emerging worldwide and effective treatment, especially for liver fibrosis, is essential for improving the prognosis. [More]
Community outreach workers may help increase HBV vaccination rates to cut risk of liver cancer

Community outreach workers may help increase HBV vaccination rates to cut risk of liver cancer

Liver cancer is more common among Asian Americans in part because they are at high risk of HBV infection. [More]
Research findings provide new avenues to target virus infection

Research findings provide new avenues to target virus infection

Viral infection is one of the leading medical challenges of the 21st Century, ranging from the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) epidemic affecting 3% of the global population, to recent outbreaks of West Nile, Zika, and Ebola viruses. [More]
Parents do not perceive need to vaccinate children against influenza, study finds

Parents do not perceive need to vaccinate children against influenza, study finds

Despite the fact that influenza leads to more hospitalizations and deaths among children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, parents frequently decline vaccinating their children against influenza because they don't perceive the need, according to a new case-control study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. [More]
MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection that increases the likelihood of developing liver cancer or liver failure. [More]
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]
Global study assesses countries on health-related Sustainable Development Goals

Global study assesses countries on health-related Sustainable Development Goals

Worldwide, good progress has been made towards some of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2000, particularly in reducing under-5 and neonatal mortality, family planning, and the rollout of universal health care. [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]
Tips to prevent back-to-school illnesses in children

Tips to prevent back-to-school illnesses in children

The backpacks are packed, lunchboxes are filled and the little ones are back in school. Kids have returned to their classrooms with stories of their summer vacations, and, unfortunately, with a host of germs ready to spread quickly in a close environment. [More]
New study raises safety concerns on clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver diseases

New study raises safety concerns on clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver diseases

Many acute and chronic liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis, result from apoptotic (programmed) cell death mediated by the enzyme caspase. Caspase inhibitors have therapeutic potential to treat and prevent apoptosis-mediated liver injury, and some are currently in clinical trials. [More]
New vaccine against grass pollen allergies may help combat hepatitis B infection

New vaccine against grass pollen allergies may help combat hepatitis B infection

A new type of vaccine against grass pollen allergies (BM32) might also offer an effective treatment for combating hepatitis B infection. [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]
Pre-travel consultation can help international travelers to prepare for trip

Pre-travel consultation can help international travelers to prepare for trip

International tourism exceeds 1.2 billion persons each year, with more than 20 percent of travelers reporting some type of illness. [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]
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