Hepatitis C (hepatitis C) is a liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus. The virus can cause acute or chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from mild illness lasting several weeks to lifelong severe disease.
Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus. The most common route of infection is exposure to a small amount of blood. Injecting drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, and the import of unscreened blood and blood products can all cause infection.
Globally, 71 million people are expected to have chronic hepatitis C infection.
A large number of people with chronic infections develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
About 399,000 people die of hepatitis C each year, mainly cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Antiviral drugs can cure more than 95% of hepatitis C infections, thereby reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but the diagnosis and treatment are less accessible.
There is currently no Hepatitis C vaccine, but research is being conducted in this area.