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Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of acute hepatitis C virus infection in adults

Reinhard Lorenz, MD
Stefan Endres, MD
Section Editor
Adrian M Di Bisceglie, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


By convention, acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection refers to the first six months of HCV infection following presumed HCV exposure [1]. While HCV infection is estimated to account for 15 percent of symptomatic cases of acute hepatitis in the United States, the majority of patients with acute HCV go undetected [2,3]. This is due in large part to the fact that patients with acute HCV are typically asymptomatic. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 16,500 new cases of HCV in 2011, of which only 1,229 cases were reported [4].

This topic will review acute HCV in adults. Issues related to the transmission of HCV, screening for HCV, and managing patients with chronic HCV are discussed elsewhere. (See "Epidemiology and transmission of hepatitis C virus infection" and "Clinical manifestations and natural history of chronic hepatitis C virus infection" and "Screening for chronic hepatitis C virus infection" and "Overview of the management of chronic hepatitis C virus infection" and "Diagnosis and evaluation of chronic hepatitis C virus infection".)


Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were released jointly by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in 2014, are continuously updated, and can be accessed at www.hcvguidelines.org [5]. Recommendations on the management of acute HCV infection were added to these guidelines in 2015. The discussion in this topic is generally consistent with those guidelines.

Other guidelines include treatment recommendations from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).

Links to these and other guidelines can be found below. (See 'Society guideline links' below.)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: May 10, 2017.
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