A virus that’s hard to C
In this transmission electron micrograph, taken by Thomas Deerinck at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego, the rarely visualized hepatitis C virus (the yellow circles) is seen inside an infected liver cell. Magnification is approximately 100,000 times.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily transmitted by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, transfusions and poorly sterilized medical equipment. Infections are often asymptomatic, but chronic infections can lead to liver scarring, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
An estimated 130-170 million people worldwide are believed to be infected with hepatitis C. Persistent infections are treated with peginterferon and ribvirin. The cure rate is 50 to 80 percent. There is no current vaccine.