Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes liver disease and it is found in the blood of persons who are infected. HCV is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person.
Hepatitis C infects about 25,000 people each year with most developing chronic infection. However, many of those with chronic hepatitis C do not even know they are infected. Those individuals with chronic infection are at risk for developing chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. Individuals who injected drugs are at highest risk for infection even if they injected only once many years ago.
Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B there is not a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Over the years, the treatments for hepatitis C have become more effective. However, treatment is not for everyone and a specialist should be consulted when determining if someone should get treated.