Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) - Morphology, Transmission, Clinical features &..

HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV) – MORPHOLOGY, TRANSMISSION, CLINICAL FEATURES & LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS

INTRODUCTION TO HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV)

HCV was identified during the research for ‘non-A non-B’ viruses by experimental infection in the chimpanzees.

HCV is the most common cause of post-transfusion hepatitis in the developed countries.

Infection due to Hepatitis C virus is seen only in humans.

MORPHOLOGY OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV)

HCV belongs to Hepacivirus genus of Flaviviridae

Size – 50-60 nm in diameter

HCV is a Spherical & Enveloped Virus, carrying Glycoprotein spikes.

Genetic material – Linear ssRNA

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TRANSMISSION ROUTE OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV)

Parenteral route – by contaminated syringes & needles, transfusion of blood & blood products.

Sexual transmission is uncommon, vertical transmission from mother to fetus may take place.

CLINICAL FEATURES OF TYPE C HEPATITIS

Incubation period – 15 – 160 days with a mean of 50 days.

Acute illness is usually mild, jaundice is less common.

Chronic illness by HCV is clinically most important as it is common & causes cirrhosis and Hepatocellular carcinoma.

LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV)

Detection of HCV antibodies by ELISA.

Confirmation of the positive results obtained by ELISA is done by using recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA).

Viral genome detection by PCR & by Immunofluorescence Assay.

Culture techniques have not been established for HCV.



PROPHYLAXIS OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS (HCV) INFECTION

Screening of blood or blood products.

Avoid the use of unsterile needles, syringes & other materials.

No specific active or passive immunizing agents are available.

TREATMENT OF TYPE C HEPATITIS

Treatment with interferon alpha, either alone or in combination with other drugs like Ribavirin is found to be useful.

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