This FAQ is dedicated to the memory of David H. Kehrer, LTC John Heintz (Peters) and his wife Patricia, Daniel Bodiford, Dr. Horst Irmler, Jude Saucier, Capt. Kevin Donnelly, Ron Thiel, ”Uncle” Dave Lang, Guy Thisdelle, “Apache” Pat Davis & Frank Darlington.
Hepatitis C virus resides in the liver of infected individuals for decades, and it is difficult to detect. Giving little notice when entering the body or attacking the liver, the virus has reached epidemic proportions, infecting more than 4 million Americans -- up to 80% of people who have hepatitis C are unaware of its presence.
"Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver that affects millions of people worldwide, and is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer," said David Ciavarella, M.D., Executive Director, Clinical and Medical Affairs, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. "It is also the number-one reason for liver transplants in the United States."
"On an average it takes about 10 to 20 years for serious symptoms such as jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and nausea to occur," Ciavarella added. "At this point, when patients learn their livers are failing, their only hope is often a liver transplant. But now early detection and treatment is possible through increased public awareness and primary care physician utilization of anti-HCV tests."
Among those at greatest risk for hepatitis C: Hemophiliacs, intravenous drug users, current or past dialysis patients, transfusion-transplant patients, healthcare workers and those engaging in high-risk sexual activities. The CDC estimates that hepatitis C is responsible for eight to ten thousand deaths per year and that this amount could increase substantially during the next ten years.
Source: Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics; Johnson & Johnson, Sept. 28, 2001