Knowledge on hepatitis caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV) has increased since 1989, when the virus was identified and cloned from the complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extracted from cells of an experimentally infected chimpanzee with the virus of hepatitis non-A, non-B. Approximately 90% of cases of post-transfusion hepatitis and 50% to 70% of sporadic cases of hepatitis non-A and non-B were caused by HCV. Thus, the discovery of this virus has enabled the development of serological diagnosis techniques. In recent years, there have been major advances in the characterization of the molecular structure of HCV, the development of diagnostic tests with high specificity and sensitivity, knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms and improved therapeutic options. The continued study of this disease allowed the characterization of its epidemiology and main routes of transmission. Currently, HCV competes with alcoholic liver disease as the leading cause of chronic liver disease. As shown asymptomatic in most cases, this disease progresses silently for chronicity with a consequent increase in cases of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study reviews the main aspects of the hepatitis C. HCV infection is progressive, silent and causes the patient serious complications such as cirrhosis and HCC, and brings high costs to the government. Therefore, given the diversity of problems caused by epidemic HCV, this study is essential to new discoveries about this health problem.
Naylê Maria Oliveira Da-Silva and Ricardo Do-Carmo Zanella
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