- Note - Some sources claim the number
of infected is at least 7 million. Hepatitis C is an often fatal viral
liver infection which, like HIV, shows no symptoms in its early infectious
stages. Hepatitis C is a blood cell vectored disease which can be spread
ORALLY...as in KISSING because of the simple fact that 50% of people have
blood cells in their saliva at all times because of poor gum health. Approximately
90% of people will show blood cells in their saliva from passionate kissing
or simply brushing their teeth. -ed.
- The need for liver transplants will triple
in the next 10 years, mainly as a result of silent hepatitis C infections
now smoldering in 4 million mostly unsuspecting Americans, a study out
- Among those at risk: boomers who experimented
with drugs in the '70s and '80s.
- The study, by liver specialist Gary Davis,
of the University of Florida, Gainesville, is the first to quantify the
future impact of hepatitis C.
- It also predicts the number of liver
failure deaths annually due to this virus will skyrocket from the current
8,800 to 28,000 in the year 2008.
- Hepatitis C is a virus that can quietly
damage the liver over decades, with mild or no symptoms. It is spread through
contact with tainted blood - in a transfusion, for example, or injecting
- ''There are millions of Americans who
have experimented with drugs and have developed hepatitis C as a result,''
says Neil Kaplowitz, a liver disease specialist at the University of Southern
- Even people who have snorted cocaine
are at risk. Straws used to inhale cocaine can contain virus-infected blood
droplets, says Davis, who presented his findings in Chicago to the American
Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
- The U.S. Public Health Service has launched
a campaign to find people who unknowingly may have received tainted blood
before 1992 and notify them so they can be tested for hepatitis C. Starting
in 1992, the nation's blood banks have rigorously screened blood for this
- Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention urges those who think they are at risk to seek a blood test.
New drug treatments can prevent liver damage if infection is detected early.
- Infection with hepatitis C usually produces
mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. ''It's a very insidious,
smoldering disease process,' Kaplowitz says.
- New drug treatments, such as a combination
of interferon and ribavirin can, in many cases, clear the virus from the
blood and prevent liver damage, he says.
- The one-two drug punch cleared hepatitis
C from the blood in at least 30% of cases, says Eugene Schiff, a liver
specialist at the University of Miami.
- U.S. and European researchers presented
data from two studies of the combo therapy at the Chicago meeting.