Whether the hepatitis C virus is not so volatile, modern humanity, perhaps, would have one problem less. Unfortunately, this infection is one of the most adapted to survival in nature, and, therefore, it is impossible to create a vaccine from it today.
Hepatitis C is the most severe form of viral hepatitis. Every year more than half a million people die of this disease, and the incidence continues to grow at a rapid pace. According to forecasts made by WHO specialists, it is hepatitis C that will become the main problem of infectious disease doctors in the coming decades.
How does hepatitis C infection occur?
The main source of infection is considered to be patients with active form of hepatitis C and latent patients - carriers of the virus. HCV infection is most often transmitted parenterally - through infected blood or its components. Infection can occur in case of parenteral actions, in medical institutions, in the provision of dental services, through needles of syringes during injections, in acupuncture, during tattooing, in piercing, in poor service in hairdressing salons, and, in rare cases, in sexual intercourse.
Expert opinion: A large number of people also get infected through sex.
In 40% of cases the source of infection is not identified.
It should be remembered that hepatitis C is not transmitted by embraces, handshakes or when using shared utensils. There is no risk of infection and airborne droplets( through saliva, sneezing or talking with a patient).Even if the transmission of infection from one person to another passes in the home, then, necessarily, it is accompanied by the blood of the carrier of the virus getting into the blood of the infected( for example, with a cut or when getting injured).
Based on the foregoing, it can be concluded that patients with hepatitis C do not need isolation from others or in creating special conditions for them to study or work for them.
Diagnosis of hepatitis C: tests for the presence of a virus in the body of a patient
Diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C are carried out:
- for acute disease - infectious disease specialist;
- in the chronic course of the disease - gastroenterologist or hepatologist.
Unmistakable and accurate diagnosis in this case is impossible without a number of instrumental and laboratory methods of examination, in particular:
- enzyme immunoassay( ELISA);
- poly-chain reaction( PCR);
- ultrasensitive test;
- biochemical blood test;
- test for the immune status of the body.
Immunoenzyme analysis is the study of markers of viral hepatitis. Having discovered the ingress of harmful microorganisms into the blood, the human immune system begins to produce antibodies to them - specific blood proteins. Immunoenzyme analysis is based on the antigen-antibody reaction, when using special antigens in the blood serum, special antibodies are found, or vice versa, with the help of antibodies, the presence of antigens in the blood.
Polydized chain reaction is the most sensitive and accurate method for diagnostics of various hepatitis, including hepatitis C. This analysis is based on the detection of foreign particles( both viruses and other microorganisms) that have got into the blood even in negligible amountsby laboratory copying of a genetic set of a microorganism. Thirty cycles of copying the necessary DNA fragments of the microorganism are sufficient to detect even one or two viruses in a single liver cell.
Ultrasensitive analysis for hepatitis C virus is the most accurate method for diagnosing this disease. Through this diagnostic method, you can find out whether the infection is present in the body, even when all other methods are powerless. An ultrasensitive analysis for hepatitis C shows:
- if necessary to detect a latent( inactive) form of hepatitis C;
- in the presence of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in the patient's blood and the impossibility of confirming the diagnosis by standard methods of disease detection;
- if necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy during treatment and during the half year after its end;
- if it is necessary to detect early hepatitis C in a person who has been in contact with the carrier of the disease.
Biochemical blood analysis allows to reveal the type and extent of liver damage, and the analysis of the body's immune status - to carry out diagnostics of changes that occurred in the immune system. Timely and accurate detection and treatment of these pathologies is the basis, without which it is impossible to expect a complete therapy of hepatitis.
Analyzes aimed at detecting the hepatitis C virus play a key role not only in the formulation of an accurate diagnosis, but also in developing individual therapeutic tactics for each individual patient. In the end, they are the key to the success of the treatment. Laboratory tests allow hepatologists to obtain answers to the following questions:
- whether there is a hepatitis C virus in the blood, or if contact with it has resulted in complete recovery of the sick person;
- if the virus is present in the human body, what is the viral load( the concentration of the virus in the blood) and what is its genotype( whether it is easily susceptible to antiviral treatment);
- how fast and actively the disease progresses, what pathologies develop in the body;
- how much the liver is affected by hepatitis C, whether the formation of hepatic fibrosis began and at what stage of development is this pathology;
- what is the genotype of the patient's organism, how likely is the complete removal of the virus from the patient's blood.
Having received answers to these questions, an experienced hepatologist will be able to diagnose the type of HCV infection, the degree and activity of disease progression, to predict the success of treatment with high reliability and determine the most appropriate strategy and tactics for each individual patient.