|Synonyms:||Viral hepatitis C, hepatitis C, type C viral hepatitis, chronic hepatitis C|
|Prevalence:||Approximately 3.5 million Americans are chronically infected 1|
|Age of onset:||All ages|
|Symptoms:||Most people are asymptomatic, but symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the eyes and skin|
Approximately 3.5 million Americans are chronically infected with HCV 1
Chronic HCV infection is an epidemic both worldwide and in the United States. Over time chronic HCV may lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, advanced liver disease or hepatocellular cancer (HCC), all of which are associated with morbidity, mortality, and detrimental impact on patient quality of life (QoL). 2
Worldwide, HCV was responsible for approximately 343,000 deaths due to liver cancer and 358,000 due to cirrhosis in 2013 as well as over $6.5 billion in associated health care costs. 3 HCV is the leading reason for liver transplantation, though the virus usually recurs after transplantation. 2,4,5
Chronic HCV is 5x more prevalent in baby boomers than in any other adult age group. 7,8
Approximately 1.75 million Americans are unaware of their chronic HCV infection 1
Hepatitis C virus is the leading chronic virus infection leading to death in the United States, with over 3.5 million people with chronic infections. 1,9 However, more than half who are infected do not know it. 1 To help identify these chronically ill patients, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) developed guidelines for screening high risk populations for HCV. 10-12
The CDC, USPSTF, and AASLD recommend the one-time screening of all baby boomers, regardless of risk factors 10-12
It’s been estimated that targeted screenings of baby boomers can identify 800,000 new cases and could prevent 120,000 deaths. 13
In addition to baby boomers, the CDC, USPSTF, and AASLD recommend screening other high-risk populations 10-12
Persons with any risk factors should be screened for HCV, even if they show no symptoms or have normal liver enzyme levels. 10,11 Patients can have HCV but have normal liver function tests (LFTs) and persistently normal Alanine transaminase (ALT) levels. 14,15 High risk populations include: 10-12
Learn more about HCV screening recommendations
For more information on screening recommendations for HCV, visit CDC.gov
Patients can be identified for HCV screening through clinical evaluation and HCV antibody testing with reflexive viral RNA test to confirm positive screening results.
- Yehia BR, Schranz AJ, Umscheid CA, et al. The treatment cascade for chronic hepatitis C virus infection in the United States: a systematic review and meta-analysis PLoS ONE. 2014;9:1–7.
- Younossi, ZM, Kanwal, F, Saab S, et al. The impact of hepatitis C burden: an evidence-based approach. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014;39: 518–531.
- GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015;385:117–71.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C: proposed expansion of testing recommendations, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/HCV-TestingFactSheetNoEmbargo508.pdf. Updated May 2012. Accessed March 16, 2017.
- Davis GL, Alter MJ, El-Serag H, et al. Aging of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected persons in the United States: a multiple cohort model of HCV prevalence and disease progression. Gastroenterology. 2010;138:513–521.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC now recommends all baby boomers receive one-time hepatitis C test [press release]. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/HCV-Testing-Recs-PressRelease.html. Updated December 27, 2013. Accessed March 17, 2017.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C: why people born from 1945-1965 should get tested. https://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/media/pdfs/factsheet-boomers.pdf. Updated 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017.
- Armstrong GL, Wasley A, Simard EP, et al. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the United States, 1999 through 2002. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:705–14.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0504-hepc-mortality.html. Updated 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017.
- Smith BD, Morgan RL, Beckett GA, et al. Recommendations for the identification of chronic hepatitis C virus infection among persons born during 1945–1965. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2012;61:1–32.
- U.S. Preventive Sercices Task Force. Hepatitis C: screening. Published June 25, 2013. Accessed March 17, 2017.
- American Association for the Study of liver Diseases, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and International Aids Society USA. Recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C. http://www.hcvguidelines.org. Accessed March 17, 2017.
- Allison WE, Chiang W, Rubin A, et al. Hepatitis C virus infection in the 1945-1965 birth cohort (baby boomers) in a large urban ED. Am J Emerg Med. 2016;50:825–831.e2.
- Healey CJ, Chapman RW, Fleming KA. Liver histology in hepatitis C infection: a comparison between patients with persistently normal or abnormal transaminases. Gut. 1995;37:274–278.
- Puoti C, Guarisco R, Spilabotti L, et al. Should we treat HCV carriers with normal ALT levels? The ‘5Ws’ dilemma. J Viral Hepat. 2012;19:229–235.