National Institutes of Health
- The primary NIH organization for research on Hepatitis C is the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. One type, hepatitis C, is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It usually spreads through contact with infected blood. It can also spread through sex with an infected person and from mother to baby during childbirth.
Most people who are infected with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms for years. If you do get symptoms, you may feel as if you have the flu. You may also have jaundice, a yellowing of skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, and pale bowel movements. A blood test can tell if you have it. Usually, hepatitis C does not get better by itself. The infection can last a lifetime and may lead to scarring of the liver or liver cancer. Medicines sometimes help, but side effects can be a problem. Serious cases may need a liver transplant.
There is no vaccine for HCV.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)