17. Epidemiology and Prevention

  1. Howard C. Thomas BSc, PhD, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci2,
  2. Anna S.F. Lok MD3,
  3. Stephen A. Locarnini MBBS, BSc(Hons), PhD, FRCPath4 and
  4. Arie J. Zuckerman MD, DSc, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci5
  1. Josep Quer and
  2. Juan I. Esteban Mur

Published Online: 26 JUL 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118637272.ch17

Viral Hepatitis, Fourth Edition

Viral Hepatitis, Fourth Edition

How to Cite

Quer, J. and Esteban Mur, J. I. (2013) Epidemiology and Prevention, in Viral Hepatitis, Fourth Edition (eds H. C. Thomas, A. S.F. Lok, S. A. Locarnini and A. J. Zuckerman), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118637272.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Emeritus Professor of Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK

  2. 3

    Alice Lohrman Andrews Research Professor in Hepatology, Director of Clinical Hepatology, Professor of Internal Medicine, Associate Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  3. 4

    Head, Research & Molecular Development, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

  4. 5

    Emeritus Professor of Medical Microbiology, Formerly Principal and Dean, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine

Author Information

  1. Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (HUVH), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, CIBERehd Instituto de Salud Carlos III, MINECO, Barcelona, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 JUL 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672952

Online ISBN: 9781118637272



  • hepatitis C virus;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevention;
  • transmission;
  • prevalence;
  • general population


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is distributed globally, affecting all countries. The majority of new HCV infections in developed countries are due currently to needle sharing by those engaging in intravenous drug use (IDU) and nosocomial patient-to-patient transmissions in healthcare settings. In developing countries, blood transfusion remains a major cause, followed by transmission by medical procedures, especially those using contaminated injection equipment, and IDU. The large reservoir of asymptomatic chronically infected individuals, the fluxes of immigration from endemic areas to less prevalent regions, and the uncontrolled epidemic of IDU continue to spread HCV throughout the world. The goal of this chapter is to review the substantial changes in HCV transmission routes of groups at risk of HCV infection, genotype distribution, and prevalence in the general population. The data describe a worldwide HCV prevalence of 2.27%, or 160 million persons infected with this virus. HCV prevalence and transmission routes are the basis for the development of measures to prevent new infections, initiate HCV screening and early treatment, reduce complications associated with HCV infection, and attenuate the huge socioeconomic impact associated with HCV infection.