Since 1991, when the first test became available, Sanquin has been testing donor blood for the presence of the hepatitis C virus. However, it can take up to several weeks after infection before hepatitis C becomes visible in the blood . That is why we ask you about your risk of contracting hepatitis C before each donation.
What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a form of liver inflammation, caused by the hepatitis C-virus. Along with hepatitis B, it is one of the two most important blood transmissible hepatitis viruses. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C.
The disease symptoms are similar to those for hepatitis B, but a smaller percentage of people infected with hepatitis C are cured on their own. Hepatitis C can now be cured with medicines. Despite the medicines, a small number of people may become a carrier for the virus. Without treatment, many patients would develop a chronic form of hepatitis C. This may lead to irreversible damage to the liver or even liver cancer.