How soon after infection do the first signs of hepatitis C appear?
The latent (incubation) period for hepatitis C is about 50 days (from 20 to 140). Symptoms of hepatitis C may never appear. Any manifestations of infection can generally be detected only when hepatitis turns into cirrhosis.
Common symptoms of hepatitis C
In general, hepatitis C is an asymptomatic disease, often diagnosed by chance, when people are examined for other diseases. Therefore, analyzes are important in timely diagnosis.
Most other symptoms are marked asthenia, weakness, fatigue. But these symptoms are very nonspecific (their mere presence does not allow us to speak about hepatitis C). With cirrhosis of the liver, jaundice may appear, the abdomen (ascites) increases in volume, spider veins appear, and weakness increases.
What diseases can have the same symptoms?
Any chronic infections and intoxications may be accompanied by asthenic syndrome, weakness, fatigue.
What are the first signs of hepatitis C?
Acute hepatitis C is diagnosed rarely and more often by chance. It is characterized by rather high activity. transaminase liver (often an increase in ALT 10 times or more) in the absence of clinical manifestations (patient complaints, any external signs of the disease).
Symptoms of acute hepatitis C include intoxication, lack of appetite, weakness, nausea, and sometimes – pain in the joints. Then jaundice may develop, with the appearance of which the transaminase activity decreases. An enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly) may occur. In general, intoxication and increased transaminases are less pronounced than with hepatitis A and B.
How long after infection with hepatitis C tests become positive?
Antibodies (anti-HCV) are found in 70% of cases when the first symptoms of the disease appear, and in 90% of cases, within three months. But the fact is that the symptoms can often not be.
RNA of the virus in the blood (more accurate analysis by PCR) is detected within 1-2 weeks from the moment of infection.
What are the manifestations and symptoms of hepatitis C?
Fulminant development of hepatitis C is very rarely observed. This can occur with simultaneous infection with the hepatitis B virus or in individuals who already have liver disease (cirrhosis), or after liver transplantation during treatment with immunosuppressants. There are various options for extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C (for example, changes in the skin, joints, kidneys).
Can liver function scores remain normal?
Can Chronic hepatitis C is characterized by periodic fluctuations in liver function indicators. Transaminase activity can grow and decrease, returning to normal values and staying long for them. However, the disease continues. It is necessary to regularly assess the state of the liver function (at least 1 time per year with a prolonged decrease in transaminase activity).
How to avoid false results when testing for hepatitis C?
The standard test for anti-HCV (ELISA, ELISA) is confirmed by an auxiliary test of recombinant immunoblotting (PIBA) or by detecting virus RNA (genome diagnostics by the method of polymerase chain reaction, PCR). Analysis of RNA can also give false-negative results, so it is repeated.
What tests clearly confirm the diagnosis of hepatitis C?
The presence of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) and HCV-RNA. Positive results from both tests confirm the presence of infection. The presence of IgM antibodies (anti-HCV IgM) makes it possible to distinguish active hepatitis from carriage (when IgM antibodies are not present and ALT is normal).
Why do PCR diagnostics for hepatitis C? What does she show?
PCR diagnostics allows you to determine the RNA of hepatitis C virus in the blood. Thus, it confirms both the presence of infection and the fact of replication (reproduction) of viruses in the body.
Is it possible to determine the amount of virus in the body? What does a viral load do?
Can. Through one of the methods of PCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction). The number of viruses in the blood (viral load) allows you to judge the activity or speed of reproduction of viruses. The higher the viral load, the more active the replication of viruses. High viral load is a factor impairing the effectiveness of antiviral therapy. The lower the viral load, the higher the chances of a successful cure. In addition, if the virus content is high, then the patient is more likely to infect other individuals (sexual partners, family members).
How does a doctor diagnose hepatitis C?
For a complete diagnosis of hepatitis C, it is necessary to perform a series of blood tests, primarily a biochemical blood test, PCR for HCV-RNA (qualitative, quantitative, genotyping), complete blood count, coagulogram (blood clotting).
It is also necessary to perform an ultrasound of the abdominal organs; a puncture biopsy of the liver may be indicated. With all the results, the doctor will be able to make a complete diagnosis, determine the level of development of the viral process in the body, assess the condition of the liver and the extent of its damage, find an effective and safe treatment.
Why and when determine the genotype of the hepatitis C virus?
In sick people infected with certain HCV genotypes, the effectiveness of the standard treatment regimen may be lower. In this case, they are selected a longer treatment regimen, which allows to improve its result. The genotype is determined only once.