|Duration||Long term (80%)|
|Blood testing for |
|Prevention||Clean needles, testing donated blood|
|Frequency||143 million / 2% (2015)|
Hepatitis C is an
HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with
There is no
An estimated 143 million people (2%) worldwide are infected with hepatitis C as of 2015. In 2013 about 11 million new cases occurred. It occurs most commonly in Africa and Central and East Asia. About 167,000 deaths due to liver cancer and 326,000 deaths due to cirrhosis occurred in 2015 due to hepatitis C. The existence of hepatitis C – originally identifiable only as a type of non-
Hepatitis C infection causes
About 80% of those exposed to the virus develop a chronic infection. This is defined as the presence of detectable viral replication for at least six months. Most experience minimal or no symptoms during the initial few decades of the infection. Chronic hepatitis C can be associated with fatigue and mild cognitive problems. Chronic infection after several years may cause
Liver cirrhosis may lead to
The most common problem due to hepatitis C but not involving the liver is mixed
Persons who have been infected with hepatitis C may appear to clear the virus but remain infected. The virus is not detectable with conventional testing but can be found with ultra-sensitive tests. The original method of detection was by demonstrating the viral
Several clinical pictures have been associated with this type of infection. It may be found in people with anti-hepatitis-C antibodies but with normal serum levels of liver enzymes; in antibody-negative people with ongoing elevated liver enzymes of unknown cause; in healthy populations without evidence of liver disease; and in groups at risk for HCV infection including those on hemodialysis or family members of people with occult HCV. The clinical relevance of this form of infection is under investigation. The consequences of occult infection appear to be less severe than with chronic infection but can vary from minimal to hepatocellular carcinoma.
The rate of occult infection in those apparently cured is controversial but appears to be low. 40% of those with hepatitis but with both negative hepatitis C serology and the absence of detectable viral genome in the serum have hepatitis C virus in the liver on biopsy. How commonly this occurs in children is unknown.