Liver Infection Brings On By Hepatitis C Virus.jpg

A liver infection known as hepatitis C is brought on by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Blood from an infected person can spread hepatitis C to other people.

Liver Infection Brings On By Hepatitis C Virus.jpg

A liver infection known as hepatitis C is brought on by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Blood from an infected person can spread hepatitis C to other people. These days, sharing needles or other injecting equipment is how most people contract the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis C is a short-term illness for some people, but it develops into a long-term, chronic infection for more than half of those who contract the virus. Serious, potentially fatal health issues like cirrhosis and liver cancer can arise from chronic hepatitis C. People with chronic hepatitis C frequently experience no symptoms and feel healthy. When symptoms arise, they frequently indicate advanced liver disease.

Chronic liver hepatitis C is the name for the hepatitis C virus infection that lasts for a long time. Until the virus injures the liver to the point where it results in the signs and symptoms of liver disease, chronic hepatitis C is typically a silent infection for many years.

The following signs and symptoms can occur: bruising easily, bleeding easily, fatigue, poor appetite, jaundice, dark urine, itchy skin, ascites, swelling in the legs, weight loss, confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy), and spider-like blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas). Every case of chronic hepatitis C begins with an acute stage. Because acute hepatitis C rarely causes symptoms, it frequently goes undiagnosed.

Jaundice is one of the possible signs and symptoms, along with fatigue, nausea, fever, and muscle aches. Acute symptoms start to show one to three months after virus exposure and last for two to three month.

Risk factors of HCV:

The HCV virus spreads mainly through contact with blood and blood products. The main factors contributing to the spread of HCV in the United States have been blood transfusions and sharing of used needles and syringes.

Transfusion-related hepatitis C has essentially disappeared since the introduction of routine blood testing for HCV antibody in 1991 and improvements to the test in mid-1992. The most frequent risk factor for developing the condition at the moment is using injection drugs. However, some patients develop hepatitis C with no known exposure to drugs or blood.

The following people are most vulnerable to contracting hepatitis C:

• Individuals who received blood transfusions, blood products, or organ donations prior to June 1992, when sensitive HCV tests for blood screening were introduced.

• Nurses who experience needlestick injuries.

• People who inject drugs, including those who may have used drugs in the past but not recently.

• Children whose mothers have HCV infection.

• Those who engage in high-risk sexual behaviour, have numerous partners, or have STDs.

• People who have shared toothbrushes, razors, and other personal items with a family member who is HCV-infected.

• People who snort cocaine while using shared equipment.

Prevalence of HCV in Pakistan (national prospect):

9.8 million people worldwide live with chronic HCV, making Pakistan the country with the second highest prevalence. Pakistan may currently be the nation with the highest burden due to recent developments in Egypt. Blood transfusions (15%), hospitalisation history (14%), dental work (13%), use of injections (12%), and surgical history (9%), among other factors, are the biggest risk factors for the spread of HCV.

Hepatitis elimination goals have been set, despite Pakistan outdated hepatitis strategy. The National Hepatitis Strategic Framework for Pakistan (2017–2021) is currently out of date. Pakistan has set goals to eradicate hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C by 2030. (HCV).

By screening 50% of the eligible population, the prime minister hopes to reach 69 million people with anti-HCV screening and 5.15 million with PCR confirmation testing between July 2020 and June 2025. Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced an ambitious programme for HCV Elimination in July 2019 that aims to treat 9.8 million HCV patients by 2030. This programme is currently waiting for funding to begin.

Next steps to reach hepatitis elimination:

• Updating the National Strategic Framework for the upcoming implementation period is one of the upcoming steps for the elimination of hepatitis in Pakistan. Another is improving surveillance of viral hepatitis C by updating case definitions.

• Increase the national rate of hepatitis C birth dose vaccination by implementing catch-up vaccination for children over 5 and for populations at risk.

• Increase HCV testing and treatment by expanding early micro-elimination initiatives, collaborating with community-based groups, and decentralising HCV care to clinics and primary care facilities.

HCV in the world (international prospect):

All WHO regions have HCV prevalence. There are 12 million chronically ill people in each of the two regions with the highest disease burdens, the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe. An estimated 10 million individuals are thought to have a chronic infection in each of the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions. The African region has 9 million chronically infected people, while the Americas region has 5 million.

This article is jointly authored by Wajeeha Rafaqat, Dr. Sohail Sajid, Dr. Urfa Bin Tahir, Dr. Aisha Khatoon and Mahvish Rajpoot.


By wajeeha Rafaqat

Microbiologist Epidemiologist