Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hepatitis C

This is a virus that is indistinguishable from the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and B. The only way to differentiate this is to obtain a blood work for the hepatitis panel.

Signs and Symptoms:
  • fever
  • malaise
  • anorexia
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • jaundice
  • hepatitis
  • asymptomatic

They noticed that jaundice secondary to Hepatitis C occurs less than 20% of the time and abnormalities in liver function is less pronounced as compared to Hepatitis B. Persistent infection in children occur 50-60% of the time but most children are asymptomatic. Studies on therapy has been limited and the available mode of treatment is only effective half of the time. With advancing age people who have chronic hepatitis C infection are a a risk of developing chronic hepatitis and possible cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Children with chronic infection should be screened periodically.

There is a 5% chance an infant of an infected mother would acquire the infection. The anti-HCV test should not be performed until after 18 months of age because it might result in a false positive because of passive maternal antibody which is present in their bloodstream.

Resource: The Redbook by the American Academy of Pediatrics

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