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May 22, 2013

Hepatitis C In Egypt: A Sad Tale Of An Epidemic

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Every year, three to four million people are newly infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Egypt has by far the highest HCV prevalence in the world at 14.7 percent, 10-fold higher than the global prevalence levels.



Ten Things You Need To Know About The Hepatitis C Virus:

  1. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) was first identified in 1989.
  2. Currently it affects less than two percent of the world’s population.
  3. The disease can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong condition that can lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  4. Every year, three to four million people are newly infected with HCV. About 150 million people are chronically infected, and more than 350,000 people die from HCV-related liver diseases.
  5. HCV is transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person. Usually this is through the sharing of infected needles and/or receiving infected blood.
  6. Hepatitis C symptoms include nausea, and in some cases associated weight loss, as well as muscle and joint pains, reduced appetite, and tiredness, with acute symptoms showing up in less than one in five of all cases.
  7. There is no vaccine against HCV.
  8. Treatment of people with new HCV infections with interferon and antivirals can get rid of the virus in up to 60 percent of people within 24 to 72 weeks. This treatment is expensive and may have severe side effects.
  9. The best way to prevent HCV is by following proper infection control practices in medical settings, and avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease such as injection drug use and the sharing of infected needles.
  10. Egypt has by far the highest HCV prevalence in the world at 14.7 percent, 10-fold higher than the global prevalence levels.