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Pamela Anderson says she has hepatitis C

Kid Rock & Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson with current beau Kid Rock at a pre-Grammy party in February.  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Actress Pamela Anderson disclosed Wednesday she has hepatitis C and said she contracted the serious liver disease from sharing a tattoo needle with her ex-husband, rock musician Tommy Lee.

In a statement released Wednesday, Anderson said she has undergone outpatient treatment for the disease at UCLA Medical Center.

"Tommy has the disease and never disclosed it to me during our marriage," said Anderson, who is in a custody battle with Lee over their two children.

She accused Lee of telling others she had the disease, which she had intended to keep private.

"Her actions today are a clear attack on Tommy," read a statement from Lee issued a few hours later.

"Hopefully she will realize that she is only doing more harm to her children and herself by trying to use the media as a tool to hurt Tommy and their two boys."

Hepatitis is a viral disease that attacks the liver. Five different hepatitis viruses have been identified. The differences: 
Type A: A vaccine is available, and personal hygiene and sanitation can reduce the risk of exposure.  
Type B: More serious. Can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. A vaccine is available.  
Type C: Can be serious, but some patients have no symptoms at all. Usually a lifelong infection. Spread by sexual contact or blood contact. No vaccine. Almost 4 million people have been infected.  
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Lee did not directly address Anderson's statement about hepatitis C, referring only to her "outrageous allegations."

Hepatitis C, a liver disease caused by a viral infection, affects nearly 2 percent of Americans. A person can become infected by sharing needles for drug use, tattooing or body piercing, getting a blood transfusion from someone with the disease, or being born to an infected mother.

The disease can lead to serious, permanent liver damage and in many cases, death. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 3 to 4 people out of 10 who receive treatment do get rid of the virus.

Anderson, a former Playboy model, became widely known for her role on the television series "Baywatch." Lee was a drummer for the heavy metal band Motley Crue and performs with his side band, Methods of Mayhem.




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