The Silent Epidemic Hepatitis C Virus

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Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is the most prevalent hepatitis in the United States with 3.2 million people chronically infected. Thus, about one person in fifty is infected, making the prevalence rate 1.8%. The national problem with hepatitis C infections is that the disease is often called the silent epidemic because infections rarely present as an acute infection; instead the majority of HCV patients are asymptomatic. Approximately 75% of HCV infected patients will develop chronic infections. Cirrhosis is likely to occur in 5% to 25% of chronically infected HCV patients. Currently, damage caused from HCV infections is the leading reason for liver transplantation in the United States (CDC, September 12, 2008). The importance of early testing for prevention of chronic liver disease compels nursing to make this an important public health issue. The article will briefly discuss the prevalence of Hepatitis C in Idaho and risk factors of HCV. (CDC, September 12, 2009)

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