Overview and statistics for Hep C
- Great statistics from the CDC on Hep and Hep progression.
If you click on the above link there is also info on transmission and treatment.
Overview and Statistics
What is the case definition for acute hepatitis C?
Because the clinical characteristics are similar for all types of acute viral
hepatitis, the specific viral cause of illness cannot be determined solely on
the basis of signs, symptoms, history, or current risk factors, but must be
verified by specific serologic testing. For specific serologic tests required to
meet the case definition, see the following link:
* Hepatitis C Virus Infection, Acute
What is the case definition for chronic hepatitis C?
Laboratory testing is required for confirmation of the etiologic cause of viral
hepatitis. For specific serologic tests, see the following link:
* Hepatitis C Virus Infection, Past or Present
Is additional guidance on viral hepatitis case determination and surveillance
Yes. See the Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Case Management,
available at /hepatitis/SurveillanceGuidlines.htm.
What is the incidence of HCV infection in the United States?
Although only 802 cases of confirmed acute hepatitis C were reported in the
United States in 2006, CDC estimates that approximately 19,000 new HCV
infections occurred that year, after adjusting for asymptomatic infection and
underreporting. Persons newly infected with HCV are usually asymptomatic, so
acute hepatitis C is rarely identified or reported.
What is the prevalence of chronic HCV infection in the United States?
Approximately 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic HCV
infection. Infection is most prevalent among those born during 19451965, the
majority of whom were likely infected during the 1970s and 1980s when rates were
Who is at risk for HCV infection?
The following persons are at known to be at increased risk for HCV infection:
* Current or former injection drug users, including those who injected only
once many years ago
* Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987, when more
advanced methods for manufacturing those products were developed
* Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July
1992, when better testing of blood donors became available
* Chronic hemodialysis patients
* Persons with known exposures to HCV, such as
o healthcare workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood
o recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested HCV-positive
* Persons with HIV infection
* Children born to HCV-positive mothers
Is it possible for someone to become infected with HCV and then spontaneously
clear the infection?
Yes. Approximately 15%25% of persons clear the virus from their bodies without
treatment and do not develop chronic infection; the reasons for this are not
How likely is HCV infection to become chronic?
HCV infection becomes chronic in approximately 75%85% of cases.
Why do most persons remain chronically infected with HCV?
A person infected with HCV mounts an immune response to the virus, but
replication of the virus during infection can result in changes that evade the
immune response. This may explain how the virus establishes and maintains
What are the chances of someone developing chronic HCV infection, chronic liver
disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer or dying as a result of hepatitis C?
Of every 100 persons infected with HCV, approximately
* 7585 will go on to develop chronic infection
* 6070 will go on to develop chronic liver disease
* 520 will go on to develop cirrhosis over a period of 2030 years
* 15 will die from the consequences of chronic infection (liver cancer or
Can persons become infected with a different strain of HCV after they have
cleared the initial infection?
Yes. Prior infection with HCV does not protect against later infection with the
same or different genotypes of the virus. This is because persons infected with
HCV typically have an ineffective immune response due to changes in the virus
during infection. For the same reason, no effective pre- or postexposure
prophylaxis (i.e., immune globulin) is available.
Is hepatitis C a common cause for liver transplantation?
Yes. Chronic HCV infection is the leading indication for liver transplants in
the United States.
How many deaths can be attributed to chronic HCV infection?
Chronic HCV infection accounts for an estimated 8,00010,000 deaths each year in
the United States.
Is there a hepatitis C vaccine?
No vaccine for hepatitis C is available. Research into the development of a
vaccine is under way.