Hepatitis C (usually called hep C) is an easily-cured liver infection that is caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus is slow acting and symptoms may not appear for many years.
The virus can survive outside the body from around 12 hours to a few weeks. In most cases it won’t last longer than four days.
What Causes Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is caused by the hep C virus, and is transmitted when you come into contact with infected body fluids. Around 199,000 Australians have hep C, many through:
- sharing of equipment for Injecting drugs
- contaminated medical procedures, prior to 1990
- medical procedures overseas (migrants from countries with high levels of hep C).
Signs and Symptoms of Hep C
Liver cells get damaged when hep C virus reproduces itself. This doesn’t always make people feel sick. When people do feel sick, they might experience the following symptoms:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
- Joint aches
- Dark urine
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)
If hep C is not treated, it can result in liver cirrhosis (after many years). It can also turn into chronic hep C, which is why it’s important to get tested for hep C as soon as possible if you feel you may have contracted it.
Want To Know More About Hep C?
If you feel you may have hep C, or have tested positive and aren’t sure what to do next, you may like to give our free Hepatitis Infoline a call.
This page last updated 27 Feb 2018