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Hepatitis C in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Hepatitis C is less common in children than in adults.

Abdominal Organs

How is HCV spread?

Babies are usually infected during birth. Adolescents are usually infected through injecting drugs, getting a tattoo, or having unprotected sex with an infected person. The following may also increase the risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis C?

Your child may not have symptoms. If symptoms develop, he or she may have any of the following:

How is hepatitis C diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms. Tell the provider if your child has health problems or other infections, such as HIV or hepatitis B. Your child will be tested for hepatitis C when he or she is at least 18 months. This is because your child's body will have HCV antibodies from his or her mother. Your adolescent may need to be tested if he or she drinks alcohol, uses certain drugs, or is sexually active. Any of the following may be used to test for hepatitis C or health problems it may cause:

How is hepatitis C treated?

Your child's body may be able to fight the HCV infection on its own. An infection that does not go away may need treatment. Children younger than 3 years usually do not receive treatment. Children 3 years or older may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage my child's hepatitis C?

What can I do to prevent the spread of HCV?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Hepatitis C

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.