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Viral hepatitis refers to infections caused by viruses that affect the liver. Viral hepatitis includes five distinct diseases, caused by five different viruses. The different viruses are called by a letter name:
Hepatitis C virus is a major cause of acute and chronic hepatitis as well as cirrhosis. Hepatitis C almost always leads to chronic hepatitis and is also associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
Hepatitis C is mostly caused by injection drug use. Other causes are hemodialysis, intranasal cocaine use, tattoos, body piercing and fetuses exposed during pregnancy. Hepatitis C can be sexually transmitted, but it happens rarely.
Read a more in-depth article about hepatitis C, written by Johns Hopkins gastroenterologists, which details the anatomical description of the causes of hepatitis C.
Read our FAQs about hepatitis C.
With a chronic condition like Hepatitis C, an experienced, knowledgeable physician is a must. You can find one here.Meet Our Physicians:
A laparoscopic liver biopsy provides an accurate diagnosis with a minimally invasive procedure..Find out more about liver biopsy.
Saleh Alqahtani, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Gastroenterology & Hepatology, discusses what you need to know about Hepatitis C.