Hepatitis C is a chronic liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Because many people do not have symptoms when they are infected, it is important for those at risk to take action to avoid infecting others.
Although HCV has existed for a long time, it was only identified in 1989. HCV causes inflammation of the liver, which can progress to cirrhosis (extensive scarring that can affect the normal function of the liver).
Some people recover from their infection, but 75-85% progress to the chronic (carrier) state. People with chronic hepatitis C may not have symptoms for decades. Approximately 35% of those who have chronic hepatitis C, do not know that they are infected.
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