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The Hepatitis C virus reproduces in the liver causing inflammation and possibly cirrhosis or liver cancer.

The Disease can incubate for decades in the body and the exact number of people infected is not known, estimates vary from 1 in 1000 people in the UK being infected to as many as 1 in 100 people.   Most cases are in people who inject illegal drugs. It is estimated that up to half of injecting drug users become infected with hepatitis C.

About 80% of exposed people develop a chronic infection and 20% are able to clear the virus by naturally building immunity.  Symptoms are not a reliable way to detect HCV. A blood test is needed to confirm that the virus is present. Symptoms may look the same as HBV.

Unlike the HIV or the Hepatitus B Virus, Hepatitus C is spread primarily through parenteral contact such as;

  • Illegal injection drug use
  • Transfusion or transplant from infected donor;
  • Tattoos
  • Occupational exposure to blood mostly needle sticks.

It can also be spread through from an infected mother to her unborn baby.