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Flashcards in Hepatitis C Deck (6):


- hepatitis C is a RNA flavivirus
- incubation period: 6-9 weeks



- the risk of transmission during a needle stick injury is about 2%
- the vertical transmission rate from mother to child is about 6%
- breast feeding is not contraindicated in mothers with hepatitis C



after exposure to the hepatitis C virus less than 20% of patients develop an acute hepatitis



- chronic infection (80-85%) - only 15-20% of patients will clear the virus after an acute infection and hence the majority will develop chronic hepatitis C
- cirrhosis (20-30% of those with chronic disease)
- hepatocellular cancer
- cryoglobulinaemia
- porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT): it is increasingly recognised that PCT may develop in patients with hepatitis C, especially if there are other factors such as alcohol abuse


Management of chronic infection

- currently a combination of pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin are used
- up to 55% of patients successfully clear the virus, with success rates of around 80% for some strains
- the aim of treatment is sustained virological response (SVR), defined as undetectable serum HCV RNA six months after the end of therapy


Complications of treatment

- ribavirin - side-effects: haemolytic anaemia, cough.
- Women should not become pregnant within 6 months of stopping ribavirin as it is teratogenic
- interferon alpha - side-effects: flu-like symptoms, depression, fatigue, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia