Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus that affects the liver of humans. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for the majority, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that results in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Other less common modes of infection include sharing personal hygiene objects like toothbrushes or razors, needleprick injuries in healthcare facilities, and rarely through sexual contact. Hepatitis C can also be spread from mother to child during childbirth.
If symptoms occur, the average time is a month and a half after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. Many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus never develop symptoms. However, symptoms of an acute infection include: