Thousands of people across the UK could be living with hepatitis C and not even know about it, according to a leading expert.

The virus, which is spread through blood-to-blood contact, could affect around 70,000 people with the condition being easily spread through the sharing of toothbrushes and razors.

This concerning figure comes amid 'testing week' - a time when charities and experts call on the public to get tested for the virus.

While hepatitis C is curable, it can lead to cancer, severe liver damage and death if left untreated.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?

According to the Metro, the symptoms of this blood-borne disease include a fever, feelings of tiredness all the time, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain and depression.

It is noted that people could live with hepatitis C for decades before noticing any symptoms, by which point severe damage may already be caused.

If the virus is diagnosed quickly enough, it can be cured in almost 100% of cases using antivirals.

How do I get tested for hepatitis C?

Those in the UK wishing to get tested for hepatitis C can do so by visiting their local GP surgery, sexual health clinic, GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic, drug treatment service or using NHS England's free at-home testing kit (England only).

Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust, says: "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.

"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."