CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is spread when you come in contact with contaminated blood.
Examples of how HCV can be spread include:
- Blood transfusions and organ transplants before 1992. Improved blood-screening tests became available in 1992. Before that year, it was possible to unknowingly contract hepatitis C through a blood transfusion or organ transplant.
- Shared needles. HCV can also spread through sharing contaminated needles when injecting drugs.
- Childbirth. A small number of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C acquire the infection during childbirth.
- Sexual contact. In rare cases, HCV may be transmitted sexually.
- Dienstag JL. Chronic viral hepatitis. In: Mandell JE, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- O'Leary JG, et al. Hepatitis C. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- Diagnosis, management and treatment of hepatitis C: An update. Alexandria, Va.: American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. http://www.aasld.org/practiceguidelines/Documents/Bookmarked%20Practice%20Guidelines/Diagnosis_of_HEP_C_Update.Aug%20_09pdf.pdf. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- Hepatitis C FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/cFAQ.htm. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- CAM and hepatitis C: A focus on herbal supplements. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/hepatitisc. Accessed April 5, 2011.
- Hepatitis C. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/hepatitisc/. Accessed April 5, 2011.