Viruses and Diseases

Viruses and Diseases - current treatments for Hepatitis C...

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Viruses and Diseases Hepatitis 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
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Unformatted text preview: 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 candidates for treatment, so infected individuals are urged to regularly consult their physician. Smallpox was effectively elimated as a scourge on humanity by worldwide vaccination programs. In fact the chances of getting smallpox from a bad vaccine were greater than that of ever encountering the virus in nature. The last U.S. case of smallpox occurred in 1949, with the world's last naturally occurring case was from Somalia in 1977. For this reason, in 1972 routine U.S. smallpox vaccinations were discontinued. However, recent (September 2001) concerns about bioweapons and bioterrorism have led the U.S. government to consider plans to vaccinate the population against smallpox....
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