I was shocked and saddened to hear on the news the other day that Dame Anita Roddick has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
It just goes to show how little we know about it when part of the shock is that she has had it since 1971 (via a blood transfusion) and was only diagnosed two years ago. She now has cirrhosis of the liver.
A lot of people out there think of Russell Harty when they read about the illness, although he was not the only well known person to have had hepatitis. Brian May and, tragically, Matthew Garber (the boy in the Mary Poppins film) also had the disease. In both cases they were diagnosed some time after contracting hepatitis.
The illness can be transmitted through blood transfusion, contaminated food, sexual contact, and (in some unique cases) alcoholism. Hopefully this latest news will help encourage awareness of an awful and sometimes fatal disease.