Hepatitis C in simple words

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis (HEP-ah-TY-tis) makes your liver swell and stops it from working right.

You need a healthy liver. The liver does many things to keep you alive. The liver fights infections and stops bleeding. It removes drugs and other poisons from your blood. The liver also stores energy for when you need it.

What causes hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is caused by a virus.

A virus is a germ that causes sickness. (For example, the flu is caused by a virus.) People can pass viruses to each other. The virus that causes hepatitis C is called the hepatitis C virus.

How could I get hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood.

You could get hepatitis C (la Qdar allah) by :

# sharing drug needles

# getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it (hospital workers can get hepatitis C this way)

# having sex with an infected person, especially if you or your partner has other sexually transmitted diseases

# being born to a mother with hepatitis C.

# Using blood tools as in case of detection of BGL [blood glucose level] MAY transmit Hepatits C virus in PHARMACIES .

In rare cases, you could get hepatitis C by

* getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized, dirty tools.

You can NOT get hepatitis C by

* shaking hands with an infected person

* hugging an infected person

* kissing an infected person

* sitting next to an infected person

Could I get hepatitis C from a blood transfusion?

Yes, if this blood IS NOT Checked by doctors to detect virus C before blood transfusion or transplantation of organs .

What are the symptoms?

Many people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms.

However, some people with hepatitis C feel like they have the flu.

So, you might

* feel tired

* feel sick to your stomach

* have a fever

* not want to eat

* have stomach pain

* have diarrhea

Some people have

* dark yellow urine

* light-colored stools

* yellowish eyes and skin

If you have symptoms or think you might have hepatitis C, go to a doctor.
however , PERIODIC checking of your blood and health control is very important.

What are the tests for hepatitis C?

To check for hepatitis C, the doctor will test your blood.

These tests show if you have hepatitis C and how serious it is.

The doctor may also do a liver biopsy.

A biopsy (BYE-op-see) is a simple test. The doctor removes a tiny piece of your liver through a needle. The doctor checks the piece of liver for signs of hepatitis C and liver damage.

How is hepatitis C treated?

Hepatitis C is treated with a drug called peginterferon, usually in combination with the drug ribavirin.

You may need surgery if you have hepatitis C for many years. Over time, hepatitis C can cause your liver to stop working. If that happens, you will need a new liver. The surgery is called a liver transplant. It involves taking out the old, damaged liver and putting in a new, healthy one from a donor.

What are the side effects of treatment for hepatitis C virus?

Flu-like symptoms (which are alleviated by acetaminophen/Tylenol), hair loss, and depression are common side effects of interferon. These symptoms generally lessen after the first few weeks of therapy and are not worsened by the addition of ribavirin. Less common side effects of interferon include anemia, low white blood cell count (leukopenia), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), and decreased thyroid function. Death rarely occurs and when it does, it is principally due to progressive liver failure in patients with advanced cirrhosis.

Certain side effects are attributed to the addition of ribavirin to interferon, including nausea, cough, shortness of breath, rash, itching, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Ribavirin also causes anemia due to the destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis). This anemia is usually mild but can become clinically significant. This condition improves with dose reduction and rarely warrants stopping the ribavirin. Ribavirin also accumulates in the testicles and ovaries and causes birth defects in animals. Although no birth defects have been reported in humans as yet, both men and women should use contraceptive measures to avoid pregnancy during and for at least six months after ribavirin treatment.

In head to head comparisons (that is, in the same study) between pegylated interferon and conventional interferon, the side-effects were similar. It stands to reason, therefore, that the side effects of the Rebetron combination versus combined pegylated interferon and ribavirin would also be comparable.

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additional info about “pegylated interferon”
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‘Pegylation’
is a method for altering the pharmacokinetic characteristics of the drug from the injection site, thus prolonging action, necessitating fewer doses and resulting in greater efficacy. Pegylated interferon can therefore be given (by subcutaneous injection) once a week rather than three times a week as for conventional interferon.

How can I protect myself?
You can protect yourself and others from hepatitis C.
Man taking a syringe out of a bag.

* Don’t share drug needles with anyone.

* Wear gloves if you have to touch anyone’s blood.

* If you have several sex partners, use a condom during sex.

* Don’t use an infected person’s toothbrush [blood my be present from weak gum], razor, or anything else that could have blood on it.

* If you have hepatitis C, don’t give your blood or plasma. The person who receives it could become infected with the virus.

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HEPATITIS c VIRAL INFECTION IN eGYPT
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Egypt has the highest prevalence of HCV in the world. Our goal is to reduce and

prevent the continued transmission of HCV in Egypt.

There are many estimates of the number of people in Egypt that are infected. Many publications suggest that over 15% of the people in Egypt are infected. This is ten times greater than in any other country in the world. The prevalence of HCV in Western countries is less than 2%.

The prevalence of HCV varies throughout the country. The available data suggests that the northern Nile Delta has the highest prevalence, ~28%. The much smaller population of Upper Egypt, in the south, has a slightly lower HCV prevalence, ~ 20%. The two major urban centers, Cairo and Alexandria, have the lowest prevalence of ~ 9% and ~6%, respectively.

Iatrogenic Infections

Iatrogenic infections play an Important role in HCV transmission and prevention in Egypt.
These are infections that occur unintentionally from medical or dental procedures. For example, injections with HCV contaminated needles or syringes from trained or untrained medical or dental workers can transmit infection. Sometimes these workers have not been correctly trained, or are careless , or have not received any training at all.

To help prevent you or your family from possibly becoming infected ask this question,
IS THIS SAFE FOR ME? COULD I GET VIRUS C INFECTION FROM THIS?

Also ask: your doctor or dentist or anyone who is giving you medical, dental, or cosmetic care to advise you how to avoid iatrogenic exposure to HCV.

* Ask this question to your doctor and their assistants.
* Ask this question to your dentist and their assistants.
* Ask the nurse or any health care provider.
* Ask the pharmacist and their assistants.

There are many people in Egypt who provide medical care, such as injections, who not trained and have little or no knowledge about preventing HCV.
* Be sure to ask this question to anyone who is giving you medical care, who has not received formal training or does not have a degree.

Iatrogenic transmission of HCV is possible when disinfection and sterilization techniques are inadequate, and contaminated equipment is shared among patients. In particular, studies have shown that HCV infection can occur among patients on hemodialysis, due to poor infection control, and the sharing of contaminated medical vials and supplies (World Health Organization. Hepatitis C – Global Surveillance Update. Weekly Epidemiological Record 75:17-28, 2000.)

In Egypt, iatrogenic infections have been linked to the origin of this public health problem. The best explanation is that more than 50 years ago before the advent of disposable medical equipment, needles and glass syringes and other medical and dental equipment were not properly cleaned and sterilized before re-use. Countless injections and procedures were done with contaminated equipment. With the introduction of disposal medical and dental equipment, some of this iatrogenic infection has been reduced.

Another important advancement was the introduction of screening blood donors for HCV and eliminating those who were HCV positive from the blood banking system. This was a world wide development to reduce and eliminate HCV transmission by blood transfusion, other blood products, and transplantation of organs. Screening blood donors for HCV in Egypt has been very successful in stopping HCV transmission by blood transfusion.

Nevertheless, Iatrogenic transmission of HCV continues to play a major role in Egypt