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Statistics: Hepatitis C

Around the globe:

• Health experts estimate 180 million people have chronic hepatitis C worldwide.

• The hepatitis C virus was not discovered until 1989. A test to detect the virus in the blood was not developed until 1992.


In the United States:

• Hepatitis C infection is the most common chronic blood borne infection in the U.S.

• Approximately 4.1 million persons, or 1.6% of the total U.S. population, are infected with hepatitis C.

• Of persons infected with hepatitis C

• 85% will remain infected for life; of those:


• 60 - 70% will develop chronic liver disease

• 10 – 20% will develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)

• 1 – 5% will develop liver cancer

• Liver failure from chronic hepatitis C is one of the most common reasons for liver transplants.

• In 2005, about 6,500 liver transplants were performed in the U.S.

• The number of liver transplants performed per year has been increasing steadily for more than 15 years.

• Chronic liver disease is the tenth leading cause of death among adults in the U.S., causing approximately 25,000 deaths annually.

• 40% of deaths from chronic liver disease can be attributed to hepatitis C.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that deaths due to hepatitis C will double or triple in the next 15 to 20 years.

• From year 2010 through 2019, direct medical costs of HCV-related liver disease are projected to reach $10.7 billion.