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Friday 28th October 2016

Dame Anita Roddick has Hep C

14th February 2007

The business world was shocked to hear recently that Dame Anita Roddick has Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver.

The founder of the Body Shop believes she contracted the disease through a blood transfusion she received during the birth of her daughter in 1971.  She had no idea she was unwell until Hepatitis C showed up in a routine blood test two years ago.  Cirrhosis of the liver is a natural side-effect of the virus which is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because of the lack of initial symptoms. 

Hepatitis C is a virus carried in the blood and more usually affects people who share needles.  However, before donated blood became routinely screened by the NHS in 1991, many people unknowingly succumbed to the virus through blood transfusions.  It is estimated that 90% of those with the virus are unaware of the fact; symptoms are extremely generalised and include stomach pain and poor concentration. 

Having turned to the Hepatitis C Trust for information when she was first diagnosed, Dame Anita has now become a patron of the charity and says she is determined to increase public awareness and funding for the disease.  She is urging those over the age of 50 and anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1991 to get themselves tested.  In a statement on her website, Dame Anita says, "What I can say is that having Hep C means that I live with a sharp sense of my own mortality, which in many ways makes life more vivid and immediate.?


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