Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Although all types of viral hepatitis can cause similar symptoms, they are spread in different ways, have different treatments, and some are more serious than others.
When someone is first infected with the hepatitis C virus, they can have a very mild illness with few or no symptoms or a serious condition requiring hospitalization. Many people who get infected will develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death. For reasons that are not known, less than half of people who get hepatitis C are able to clear, or get rid of, the virus without treatment in the first 6 months after infection. Treatments are available that can cure most people with hepatitis C in 8 to 12 weeks.
Grundy County Health Department offers FREE Hepatitis C testing every month by appointment. Remaining 2023 dates are: