Hepatitis C history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Seyedmahdi Pahlavani, M.D. [2], Javaria Anwer M.D.[3]


Acute HCV infection is often asymptomatic and may only manifest as fatigue and a low grade fever. Patients with chronic infection may present late with symptoms of liver cirrhosis. Patients are often diagnosed incidentally following an abnormal liver function test panel.

History and Symptoms

Approximately 70%–80% of people with acute hepatitis C do not develop any symptoms early in the disease course. The majority of patients with chronic hepatitis C present at an advanced disease stage, usually due to the manifestations of the liver cirrhosis. Although asymptomatic, up to two-third patients present with extra-liver manifestations.[1] In asymptomatic patients, hepatitis C is often detected following the incidental finding of abnormal liver function tests.[2] If symptoms occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. Patients may develop mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected, including:[2]

Constitutional Sypmtoms


Indicate advanced liver disease. Less commonly seen in acute infection.


Indicate advanced live disease.

Extrahepatic manifestations


  1. Cacoub, Patrice; Longo, Dan L.; Saadoun, David (2021). "Extrahepatic Manifestations of Chronic HCV Infection". New England Journal of Medicine. 384 (11): 1038–1052. doi:10.1056/NEJMra2033539. ISSN 0028-4793.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wilkins T, Malcolm JK, Raina D, Schade RR (2010). "Hepatitis C: diagnosis and treatment". Am Fam Physician. 81 (11): 1351–7. PMID 20521755.

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