Hepatitis C (HCV)

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Hepatitis C (HCV), a single stranded RNA virus from the family Flaviviridae, now accounts for more disease and death that does human immunodeficiency virus HIV/AIDS. Approximately 3 million individuals within the United States are currently suffering from what was once and unknown and untreatable virus. Non-A and non-B hepatitis are two forms of the virus that were prevalent back in the 1970’s. It was commonly acquired via blood transfusion as well as through hemodialysis methods of renal failure patients (Klevens et al., 2012). Today, the most common means of transmission are through intravenous drug use, needle stick injuries in a health care setting, and transmission from mother to fetus during birth (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013a). Humans serve as the only natural host for Hepatitis C (Pawlotsky, 2004). They invasion of hepatitis C at the cellular level is not fully understood, but it is known that the virion infection is a multiphase process that includes virus entry, transcription of genomic RNA, translation of polyportein synthesis of negative strand RNA, followed by production of progeny genomic RNA and finally assembly and secretion of virons. When the virus invades the body, it targets the largest internal organ of the human body; the liver (Chang et al., 2012). The liver is a functionally complex but a simple structure located on the right side of the body where it is attached to the diaphragm. It has two lobes with two blood supplies: the hepatic artery which takes in oxygen rich blood from the heart and the portal vein which supplies the liver with nutrient-rich blood from the digestive tract. These blood supplies merge into the sinusoids and then further to the hepatocytes and Kupper cells... ... middle of paper ... ...004). Pathophysiology of hepatitis C virus infection and related liver disease. Trends in Microbiology. Vol. 12, No. 2. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2003.12.005 Sunheimer, R., & Graves, L., (2011). Clinical Laboratory Chemistry. Pearson Education Inc. pp.414-416 The Hepatitis C Trust. (2013a). The Chronic Phase. Retrieved from: http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/Hepatitis_C_Info/Stages+of+Hepatitis+C/The+chronic+phase The Hepatitis C Trust. (2013b). Treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/Treatment/Considering+Treatment/Considering+treatment United States Department of Veterans Affair. (2013). Liver enzymes. Retrieved from: http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/basics/liver-enzymes.asp Ward, J., Valdiserri, R., & Koh, H., (2013) Hepatitis C prevetion, care, and treatment: from policy to practice. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Vol. 55(S1), S58-63. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis392
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