Hepatitis C Essay

2406 words - 10 pages

My uncle was not the only person to become infected with the hepatitis C virus, but in fact many people are presently struggling to keep it under control. Today four million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus and there are thirty thousand new cases of this virus found each year (Turkington 9). Hepatitis C takes ten thousand lives each year just in the United States, and without effective treatment the death rate is expected to triple in the next fifteen years (Turkington 9). Seventy-five percent of those infected with the virus will develop chronic hepatitis and half of those people will develop cirrhosis of the liver (Turkington 9). The hepatitis C virus is sometimes referred to as the “Hidden Epidemic” because an estimated four million people are infected with it and symptoms may not show until twenty years later (Grady). It is also the leading cause of liver transplantation in the United States (Bushie). This virus affects so many people and we should all learn and study more about it to hasten its spread.

Hepatitis is a rather new virus to the science world, but it has been around for a very long time. Before scientists knew about hepatitis C, they had discovered A and B types, so when they found C they called it non-A non-B (Turkington 5). The virus was discovered in 1987, but not until after 1990 was blood tested for hepatitis, causing many people to receive and contract the virus (Turkington 5). Hepatitis is thought to have originated in the Far East because of the diversity and number of people infected in that location (Turkington 6). Strains of hepatitis are found in Thailand, which has led researchers to believe it mutated in Asia to form all its genotypes (Turkington 6). There are five types of the hepatitis virus and they are A, B, C, D, and E (Hoofnagle). Hepatitis C is caused by a single-stranded virus with a core of ribonucleic acid (Turkington 10). Hepatitis C has so many genotypes that the virus cannot be detected by the immune system (Turkington 11). It has six separate genotypes and each genotype has three to four subtypes (Turkington 11). Every genotype of the virus is restricted to different regions of the world (Turkington 11). The most common genotypes of hepatitis C in North America are the 1a and 1b genotypes (Turkington 11). The genotype 1b is the most severe form of the hepatitis C virus because it is the most aggressive, it responds least to drug therapies, and it recurs the quickest after liver transplantation (Turkington 11). There are many tests to determine which genotype the patient has. Genotype tests are not necessary because treatment has nothing to do with the strain of the virus and also these tests are very expensive (Turkington 11). Hepatitis C, though it has a wide diversity, is a very deadly virus because it attacks a very important organ, the liver.

The main target of hepatitis is the liver, which is one of the most important organs in the human body. The liver is the largest internal...

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