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Incubation Period: Hepatitis C

After entering the body, the incubation period of hepatitis C virus is quite long (from 2 weeks to 6 months). However, anti-HCV tests during this time still give a negative result because the body has not had time to produce antibodies against the virus.

1. What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is one of the most common infectious diseases of the liver, caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV). This is one of the five main types of hepatitis: A, B, D, E.

The disease spreads from the person carrying the hepatitis C virus to the healthy person according to 3 pathways: Blood sugar, sexual route and mother pass the child to the placenta at birth.

However, the risk of sexually transmitted infection of Hepatitis B is rarer than hepatitis B. The phenomenon of mother infecting hepatitis C virus for children has been reported but the rate is also low.

Thus, the risk of infection with hepatitis C virus mainly follows blood (people receiving blood or blood products contaminated with C virus; sharing contaminated needles of C virus; some other causes such as acupuncture, ear piercing) , tattooing tools that are not absolutely sterile ...)

In addition, there is an incidence of 30-40% of HCV infections but the cause of infection is unknown.

Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral drugs because there is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

2. The stages of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is divided into 2 stages: Acute Hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis C.

Acute hepatitis C: is a viral infection that develops in the first weeks or months after the hepatitis C virus enters a person's blood. "Acute" means sudden and short illness sometimes, occurs within the first two weeks to six months.

In 25% of cases, the virus will erase itself from the body without treatment. If there are no obvious signs of illness, most cases of acute hepatitis C lead to chronic infection.

Chronic hepatitis C: An estimated 75% to 85% of people with acute hepatitis C will have a chronic infection that lasts for at least 6 months and usually longer. Even at this stage, most people have no symptoms, but that does not mean that the infection is benign.

Each year, about 150 million people with chronic hepatitis C infection are at risk of developing cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure.

3. Time to incubate hepatitis C?

After HCV enters the body, they have a relatively long incubation period, from 2 weeks to 6 months, depending on the condition of each patient.

After the initial infection, about 80% of people who do not show any symptoms and when doing anti-HCV tests still have a negative result because the body has not had time to produce antibodies against virus.

4. Symptoms of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is called "silent killer" because the virus is often hidden in the body for many years. Because most people do not show signs of warning for hepatitis C. They will not treat it until many years later. By the time the hepatitis C symptoms appear or the diagnosis is made, damage is usually carried out.

  • Symptoms of acute hepatitis C

People with acute hepatitis C often do not have any symptoms (symptoms). However, some people will experience mild to severe symptoms after being infected with the virus, including:

Fatigue, loss of appetite: This is quite common in people with acute hepatitis C. People infected with this symptom are caused by the hepatitis C virus that attacks directly into the immune system, thereby making the sick, lazy and active, afraid to move even when lying down.

Mild fever : This is one of the manifestations of hepatitis C, which can be prolonged or episodic. Usually, the patient is quite negligent when there is this sign because he thinks it is only due to normal weather or emotions.

Yellow skin, itching or yellow eyes : In the early stages, this symptom rarely appears. The cause of this symptom is that the hepatitis C virus causes liver activity to stagnate, affecting the ability to remove harmful toxins from the body, thereby causing high levels of bilirubin in the blood. so it will cause yellow eyes and jaundice in patients.

In addition to the above symptoms, patients may also have some other manifestations of hepatitis C, such as: muscle pain; Pain in the right upper part of the abdomen; Muscle or joint pain; Nausea or Vomiting; Stomach pain, weight loss; Urine is dark yellow, pale stools; Easy bleeding, easy bruising.

  • Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C

Most chronic hepatitis C patients have no symptoms. People who have been infected with hepatitis C virus for many years may be damaged. In many cases, the disease does not show symptoms until complications appear.

In asymptomatic patients, hepatitis C is often detected by elevated liver enzymes (ALT, AST), and a quarter of people with chronic hepatitis C continue to develop fibrosis. Liver, or severe scarring in the liver. These people may also have other symptoms, including swelling in the legs and abdomen, accumulation of toxins in the blood that can lead to brain damage.

However, symptoms of hepatitis C vary from person to person. There are people who get sick but do not have any symptoms or symptoms are very faint, not enough to recognize. In fact, many cases get sick for years without knowing it.

To find out if you have hepatitis C, a blood test is needed to diagnose it. Therefore, experts recommend screening for hepatitis C at least every 6 months so that if unfortunately you are infected, it is absolutely necessary to follow the doctor's instructions because hepatitis C is one of the viruses the most variable, with more than 11 genotypes (different types of genes of the same species based on the differences in the genome of that microorganism).

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