LIVER DISEASESHepatitis C affects approximately 170 million people worldwide and 4 million in the United States. The virus is transmitted primarily by blood and blood products. Most infected individuals have either received blood transfusions prior to 1990 (when screening of the blood supply for the Hepatitis C virus began) or have used intravenous drugs. Sexual transmission can occur between monogamous couples (rare) but infection is far more common in those who are promiscuous. In rare cases, Hepatitis C causes acute disease and even liver failure. About twenty percent of individuals with Hepatitis C who develop cirrhosis of the liver will also develop severe liver disease. Cirrhosis caused by Hepatitis C is presently the leading cause of the need for liver transplants in the United States. Individuals with cirrhosis from Hepatitis C also bear increased chances of developing primary liver cancer. All current treatments for Hepatitis C employ of various preparations of the potent antiviral interferon alpha. However, not all patients who have the disease are good
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