Hepatitis C virus is a single stranded RNA virus. It is a major cause of acute and chronic hepatitis. The mode of infection is usually through intravenous drug abuse or transfusion of infected blood or blood products. Health care workers are at risk for needle stick and other with high-risk sexual behavior is also considered a major risk factor for HCV infection. The incidence of new cases of acute HCV infection has sharply decreased in the United States during the past decade, but the prevalence remains high with approximately 2.7 million Americans infected with the virus. Chronic HCV infection progresses in roughly 75% of patients after acute infection by the virus. Chronic HCV infection is slowly progressive disease and results in severe morbidity in 20-30% of infected persons.
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