Hepatitis C is a virus which affects the liver, and 80% of people infected with Hepatitis C will develop the chronic, long term, form of hepatitis C. Only one-fifth of those people with the chronic form will get severe liver damage called cirrhosis; this normally occurs 20 to 30 years after initial infection. Most people, especially children, will have no symptoms. When someone has symptoms they can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, mild fever, vomiting, muscle aches, joint aches, headache, dark urine, yellow eyes or skin, and abdominal pain. There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C.
Treatment: Treatment is available with medications for patients who meet certain medical criteria. Treatment should be determined and monitored closely by a doctor. All patients with hepatitis C, who do NOT have hepatitis B, should be immunized for hepatitis B. It is important to prevent persons with hepatitis C from getting hepatitis B, because having both leads to a worse prognosis.
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