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Hepatitis C : By No Means Lily-livered! Beware

Hepatitis C has become the scourge of multitude of Queenslanders, with nearly thousands of them fighting a relentless battle with the disease//, underlining the importance of early medical intervention in the successful treatment of the disease. Hepatitis C is caused by a virus that targets the liver, which can also turn fatal.

The University of New South Wales have rolled out figures that show the alarming rise of Hepatitis C cases , almost 40,000 people in the state, of which even 1% did not think it appropriate to seek medical treatment.

Health Minister Stephen Robertson announced a grant of $4 million over a period of three years to employ the services of additional nurses and psychologists to give undivided attention to Hepatitis C cases. The staff will be recruited by December this year.

Gastroenterologist and heptologist associate professor Graeme Macdonald explained that, out of the many types of Hepatitis C, nearly 10 to 20% may go into full blown cirrhosis. "Of those, about half will get life-threatening complications," he said.

According to Ms Walton, nearly 80 to 90 per cent of people with hepatitis C have had a history of injecting drugs. "A lot of the people we see may have used intravenous drugs once or twice at a party maybe 20 years ago and that’s all it takes," Ms Walton said.

Clinical diagnosis is warranted even with stray cases of njecting illegal drugs, unsterile tattoo or body piercing, or medical treatment abroad. Indeed it is better to be safe than sorry !

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