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Hepatitis C Virus Infection In Children
Hepatitis C virus is the most common, chronic, blood-borne infection in the
United States. An estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S. are infected with
hepatitis C virus (HCV), and most of them don't even know they are infected.
Most people who get hepatitis C have the virus for the rest of their lives.
Hepatitis C can be very serious for some people, but less serious for others.
Fifty to eighty percent of people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) will
develop chronic hepatitis. Chronic HCV infection is responsible for 10,000
deaths every year in the United States, and is the most common reason for liver
transplantation in this country.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis
C is a single-stranded RNA virus in the Flavovirus family. When the liver is
infected with this virus, it becomes inflamed, tender, and swollen. Hepatitis C
is the only one of the 6 different forms (genotypes) of viral hepatitis that
causes the liver to be inflamed. Chronic HCV infection may destroy patches of
liver tissue - a process called cirrhosis.
HCV can also infect children. About 5 out of every 100 infants who are born to
HCV infected mothers become infected. HCV is transmitted by exposure to infected
blood, fluids from serum, and body fluids that are contaminated with blood.
Children can be infected by an HCV-positive mother around the time of birth, and
no treatment can prevent it. Children can also be infected by sharing a
contaminated toothbrush of an HCV-positive family member or playmate. Infants
who are infected with HCV at birth appear healthy during the first few years of
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HCV INFECTION IN CHILDREN?