More than 70,000 Brits could be living with killer hepatitis C but have no idea, experts have warned. Experts at the healthcare company and charity the Hepatitis C Trust are calling on more Brits to get screened for the disease via NHS England’s at-home testing service.

Dr John White, of Preventx, said: “The limited awareness around the risk factors and symptoms of hepatitis C, shown by our survey, makes getting tested even more important. With many ways to acquire hepatitis C — from tattoos to toothbrushes — testing is the only way to be sure you don’t have it.

“It is estimated that 70,000 people in England have the virus and don’t know about it. We must get more people to test to find these missing cases of hepatitis C.” Rachel Halford, of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “With public awareness of hepatitis C so low, there is a lack of testing within the general public - there may be thousands of people who do not know they are at risk of the virus.

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“You can go many years before you experience any symptoms of hepatitis C but the damage the virus can do to your liver as it goes undetected can be life-threatening. Thankfully, hepatitis C can be cured via a short course of tablets. If you are concerned about hepatitis C, it’s never been easier to get tested.

“The at-home testing kit from the NHS will help you to quickly and confidentially find out if you have the virus so that you can start your treatment straight away.” Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect the liver, according to the NHS, who lists signs and symptoms on its website.

If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years. Symptoms can include: flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature (fever), as well as feeling tired all the time and loss of appetite.

Other signs show stomach ache and feeling and being sick.