Hepatitis C Basics

What is viral hepatitis?

Viral hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) caused by a virus.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a disease caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). It is a chronic infection spread through direct blood-to-blood contact with a person who has hepatitis C. Although there are treatments available for hepatitis C, no vaccine is currently available to treat this disease. Symptoms of hepatitis C include fatigue, yellow discoloration of skin and eyes, bloating, and fluid in the abdomen. It is possible to be infected with hepatitis C without having any symptoms of the disease.

Visit the CDC website to access downloadable fact sheets about Hepatitis C.

What is the Hepatitis C virus?

The hepatitis C virus is a 55-65 nm lipid-enveloped single-stranded RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae and genus Hepacivirus. The virus replicates mainly in the hepatocytes of the liver and may also replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. It mutates rapidly and is able to produce many variants.