Millions of people across the globe suffer from chronic Hepatitis C infection, and many truck drivers could be considered at risk because of their age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends persons born from 1945-1965 be tested for Hepatitis C.
Here are seven things you ought to know about Hepatitis C:
1. Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by a bloodborne virus, which can cause acute and chronic infections, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
2. Hepatitis C is most commonly transmitted by sharing needles for intravenous drug use, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, transfusion of unscreened blood, sexually and from an infected mother to her baby, according to WHO.
3. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.
4. According to the CDC, people who may be at risk for Hepatitis C infection include:
- current or former injection drug users
- chronic hemodialysis patients
- blood transfusion or solid organ transplant recipients
- recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
- HIV-infected individuals
- people with known exposure to Hepatitis C
- children born to Hepatitis C-positive mothers.
People who have had tattoos, piercings, or been incarcerated are also at risk, according to WHO.
5. Hepatitis C is diagnosed through a screening for anti-Hepatitis C antibodies and if the test is positive, a nucleic acid test is needed to confirm the infection.
6. Hepatitis C does not usually show any symptoms. If symptoms do develop, according to the CDC, they may include: fever, fatigue, dark urine, clay-colored stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain and jaundice.
7. Hepatitis C can be detected through screening four to 10 weeks after infection, according to the CDC.