China Varicose Vein Treatment in Liaoning Spreads Hepatitis C Infection

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 6, 2013 1:45 PM EST

Instead of getting relief from painful varicose veins, dozens of people in Liaoning, a province of China, are now confined in hospitals after getting contaminated with the infectious hepatitis C. 

Chinese local media reported that a total of 120 patients underwent varicose vein treatment at an undisclosed privately-run clinic in Liaoning province, where after screening, 95 people came out possibly infected with hepatitis C.

Varicose veins are defined as twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin. They most commonly develop in the legs and ankles.

The investigation on the clinic came about after local authorities received a tip-off on Jan. 28, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Local health authorities added they have detained a doctor, named Xue, who works as a surgeon at the clinic. He was detained on Feb. 2 and is currently being investigated, according to the city's health bureau. The clinic has likewise been ordered to close pending the investigation.

Primarily spread through blood-to-blood contact, Hepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling or inflammation of the liver. 

Most people who were recently infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms. About 1 in 10 have yellowing of the skin, commonly known as jaundice, that gets better.

Of people who get infected with hepatitis C, most develop a long-term chronic infection. Usually there are no symptoms. If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred. This is called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.

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