Hepatitis C Symptoms
Most people with hepatitis C or hep C have no symptoms when they contract the
infection. Those that do have symptoms of hep C infection may experience
- joint pains,
- poor appetite, and
What is hepatitis C (hep C)?
Hepatitis (hep C) is a form of viral hepatitis. Hepatitis C causes acute and chronic liver disease. Hepatitis C is transmitted when the virus in infected blood from one person infects another person. Hepatitis C disease is caused by a virus termed HCV (a single strand RNA virus) that infects liver cells. Hepatitis C was referred to in older scientific publications as non-A or non-B hepatitis.
Is hepatitis C contagious?
Hepatitis C is contagious. It is mainly transmitted via blood to blood
transfer. This transmission can occur by
- sharing needles,
- tattoo needles,
- surgical or diagnostic instruments,
- sexual contact, and
- organ transplants.
Casual contact (including exposure to saliva and skin to skin such as with a
handshake or) rarely, if ever, can transmit hepatitis C virus.
How long before I know I'm infected and have hepatitis C?
The incubation period (time from exposure to the virus to symptom
development) for hep C is variable. The time period may vary from about 2 weeks
to 6 months with 6 -10 weeks being the average time span. However, about 80% of
those infected may not develop acute symptoms.
Symptoms of hepatitis C develop slowly and include
About 70% to 90% of infected people do not clear the virus and become chronic
carriers. Tests for diagnosing hepatitis C virus include detecting antibodies
to the virus and a PCR test that detects virus antigens.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2016