Российское сообщество больных Гепатитом С


The incubation period (the amount of time that elapses between infection and the development of symptoms) varies for the different hepatitis viruses. Hepatitis A and E may develop as few as two weeks after exposure, but usually appear after four weeks. For hepatitis B and C it may take up to six months before symptoms develop. (The average incubation period is two to three months for hepatitis B and six to nine weeks for hepatitis C.) In experiments on chimpanzees, hepatitis D developed two to ten weeks after infection.

After initial exposure, HCV RNA can be detected in blood in 1-3 weeks. Within an average of 50 days (range 15-150 days), virtually all patients develop liver cell injury, as evidenced by elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT)—[an enzyme which leaks out of the damaged cells into the bloodstream]. The majority of patients are asymptomatic and anicteric [whites of the eyes are clear]. Only 25-35 percent develop malaise, weakness, or anorexia, and some become icteric [whites of the eyes are jaundiced]. Fulminant [rapid onset] liver failure following HCV infection has been reported but is a rare occurrence. Antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) almost invariably become detectable during the course of illness. Anti-HCV can be detected in 50-70 percent of patients at the onset of symptoms and in approximately 90 percent of patients in 3 months after onset of infection. HCV infection is self-limited in only 15 percent of cases. Recovery is characterized by disappearance of HCV RNA from blood and return of liver enzymes to normal. - National Institutes of Health Statement on Hepatitis C 1997.



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