HCV: The Hepatitis C Virus Essay

HCV: The Hepatitis C Virus Essay

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Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. There are currently five known viruses that cause can hepatitis (Microbiology, 10e). The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person; however, it is now more commonly spread among IV drug users that share needles. Healthcare workers are also at risk for contracting HCV, but with standard precautions, the risk is low. “Prior to 1992, some people acquired the HCV infection from transfusions of blood or blood products. Since 1992, all blood products have been screened for HCV, and cases of HCV due to blood transfusion now are extremely rare. HCV can be passed from mother to unborn child. Approximately 4 out of every 100 infants born to HCV-positive mothers become infected with the virus. A small number of cases are transmitted through sexual intercourse; however, the risk of transmission of HCV from an infected individual to a non-infected spouse or sexual partner without the use of condoms over a lifetime has been estimated to be between 1% and 4%. There have also been some outbreaks of HCV when instruments exposed to blood have been re-used without appropriate disinfection.” (Microbiology, 10e)
The HCV virus measures about 50 nm in diameter; it is classified as a separate genus (Hepacivirus) within the Flaviviridae family. It is the virus that causes Hepatitis C. This family of viruses all has ribonucleic acid (RNA) as their genetic material. “All hepatitis C viruses have an outer coat or envelope and contain enzymes and proteins that allow the virus to reproduce within the cells of the body, in this case, liver cells.” There are at least six strains of the hepatitis C virus, and they all have this structure but have different genotypes. These ...


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...platelet count. Depression, irritability, sleep disturbances, anxiety and personality changes have also been noted as adverse effects of this treatment. But the most significant side effect of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia is a type of anemia due to destruction of red blood cells. Other side effects with ribavirin include cough, and some shortness of breath. There also may be some rashes. There is also the risk of birth defects. In spite of these reported side effects, the virus can be completely eradicated in many cases following treatment.



Works Cited

World Health Organization website, (retrieved November 16, 2011)
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/hepatitis

Hepatitis C Support Project, (retrieved November 27, 2011)
http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Inf%20and%20Rib.pdf

Tortora, Funke, Case, (10th edition), Microbiology

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