Hepatitis C Vaccine
Hepatitis C Vaccine Hepatitis C is a type of liver disease caused by infection with the HCV virus. Hepatitis C virus can cause permanent and life-threatening effects on the body as it can cause chronic infection in the liver. Millions of individuals in the world and nearly 1 million in our country have Hepatitis C. This disease, which is treatable today, becomes chronic in many people due to late diagnosis. If it is diagnosed before it causes other diseases, a full recovery can be achieved.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C may not show its effects immediately after being infected with the HCV virus. Over time, it gradually manifests itself with different symptoms. Hepatitis C virus causes symptoms according to the acute and chronic diseases it can cause in the body. Someone infected with the hepatitis C virus usually shows the following symptoms in the acute state:
- Muscle aches, increased fever
- Jaundice, although rare
- chronic fatigue state
The initial mild symptoms of someone infected with HCV can lead to chronic and serious liver diseases as they progress. Before proceeding in this way, mild symptoms should be carefully monitored and early diagnosis and treatment should be applied. Mild symptoms may persist for several years after individuals become infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Years later, the virus can cause serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
What Causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a type of infection that leads to liver damage when HCV infects the human body and the virus settles in the liver. This disease, which becomes chronic in many people, can be diagnosed late due to the late recognition of liver symptoms and a long incubation and disease process with generally mild symptoms.
Some substances that contribute to the formation of Hepatitis C infection and the progression of the disease as a result of the virus entering the human body are given below:
- After the hepatitis C virus settles in the liver, a type of immune response begins to occur in the body. This is a defense mechanism. However, the body cannot tolerate the infection because the immune system cannot deal with HCV on its own.
- The proliferation of the virus in the body is called “viral load”. The more the virus multiplies in the body, the more the infection progresses and the severity of damage to the liver increases.
- Like many types of viruses, the Hepatitis C virus has different genotypes with various mutations. Some genotypes may respond faster to treatment, while other genotypes may respond more slowly.
- If an individual infected with hepatitis C has another infection that affects the liver (such as Hepatitis B and HIV), this may cause the hepatitis C disease to progress more quickly.
Early diagnosis is of great importance to reduce the damage of the Hepatitis C virus to the body and stop the progression of the disease. In addition, treatment methods should be applied carefully and medical check-ups should be performed regularly.
How is Hepatitis C Diagnosed?
Hepatitis C virus can now be easily diagnosed with two types of test methods. Diagnosis can be made by applying a PCR test or blood antibody test when applying to any health institution. Although the time for test results to be announced varies, results are available in as little as 2 weeks.
In addition, although not directly related to Hepatitis C, your specialist may order some liver function tests to determine the liver damage that may have been caused by the infection and the degree of the disease.
Although hepatitis C treatment is possible today, treatment methods are increasing with new medical technologies. In this way, the treatment period is also shortened. The main purpose of Hepatitis C treatment is to prevent liver damage before the infection becomes chronic and to completely clear the virus from the body by reducing the viral load.
How is Hepatitis C Transmitted?
Treatment is determined individually according to the level of disease progression (level of liver damage) and the type of virus (genotype). Hepatitis C treatment, which has a very high tolerance level, is usually carried out in combination with antiviral drugs. Since there is a risk of recurrence of the infection after treatment is completed, long-term follow-up must be performed. In addition, the risk of infection should be minimized by taking protective measures during treatment.
In the treatment of hepatitis C, a medium-term treatment plan is usually applied (8-12 weeks). Today, FDA-approved direct-acting antiviral drugs are actively used as the most up-to-date and effective method. To prevent the infection from becoming chronic, this treatment plan needs to be implemented as early as possible.
In the treatment of Hepatitis C, if there is any liver damage caused by the virus, appropriate treatment and organ transplantation can be performed if necessary.
Hepatitis C Contagion
Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood and body fluids. Although the risk of sexual transmission is quite low, it can be transmitted through bleeding that may occur during intercourse. Ways such as kissing, hugging, or eating from a shared plate with a hepatitis C patient do not pose a risk of virus transmission.
Hepatitis C virus is not transmitted by the bite of animals such as mosquitoes. Also, a mother infected with hepatitis C can breastfeed her baby. Only in cases that cause bleeding in the breast and high infection burden, the mother should stop breastfeeding under the supervision of a doctor.
Hepatitis C Virus is most commonly transmitted through:
- Incomplete sterilization during dental treatments,
- Multiple use of vascular access products such as injection needles in hospitals,
- The materials used during tattooing are not sterile,
- Cosmetic materials that pose a risk of bleeding, such as manicure and pedicure, are not sterile,
- Transplantation of an organ infected with hepatitis C virus,
- Use of blood and blood products prepared without proper infection risk management in medical operations,
- Using personal hygiene products of someone infected with the hepatitis C virus (such as nail clippers, toothbrushes, razors),
- Using the hemodialysis device when there are sterilization deficiencies.
Hepatitis C Vaccine
Hepatitis C virus is still diagnosed in millions of people today. There is no Hepatitis C vaccine approved by all health boards and produced to prevent any infection with the virus. Therefore, individuals and organizations need to be careful to prevent the risk of infection. To minimize the risk of hepatitis C virus transmission, you can pay attention to the following items:
- In healthcare institutions, syringes should be clean and disposable.
- Care should be taken when having sexual intercourse. A condom should be used for a healthy sexual intercourse. Blood tests can be done regularly for such sexually transmitted diseases.
- To protect against blood and body fluids, personal belongings should not be shared with anyone.
- Individuals staying in a dormitory or shared house must comply with hygiene rules.
- When donating blood and organs, necessary checks must be carried out to ensure that it is safe.
- Although there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, getting Hepatitis A and B vaccines may indirectly help protect against it.
Today, millions of people are infected with the Hepatitis C virus. This disease, which can be diagnosed and treated, can cause many permanent damages if it progresses. Therefore, if you have not had a Hepatitis C test before, you can have a Hepatitis C test at our hospital and consult our specialist physicians. You can take the necessary individual precautions to protect yourself from Hepatitis C.