Medical Dictionary: Chronic infection


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Chronic infection: Another name for Chronic infections.
Chronic infection (condition): Ongoing and often slow progressing infection; opposite to acute infections.

Chronic infection: Chronic infections usually develop from acute infections and can last for days to months to a lifetime. Sometimes, people are totally unaware they are infected but still may be able to transmit the germ to others. For example, hepatitis C, which affects the liver, is a chronic viral infection. In fact, most people who have been infected with the hepatitis C virus don't know it until they have a blood test that shows antibodies to the virus. Recovery from this infection is rare - about 85 percent of infected persons become chronic carriers of the virus. In addition, serious signs of liver damage, like cirrhosis or cancer, may not appear until as long as 20 years after the infection began. 1

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Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Microbes in Sickness and in Health - Publications, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: NIAID

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