Hepatitis C is of concern both to industrialized and developing countries. Preliminary unpublished estimates of the global burden of disease (GBD) attributable to HCV-related chronic liver disease seem to be substantial. Therefore, the reduction of global mortality and morbidity related to chronic hepatitis C should be a concern to public health authorities, and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention activities should be implemented and monitored in each country, with precise targets set to be reached. In order to decide on national health policies, there is a need to estimate the burden of disease, globally, regionally and nationally. To evaluate the GBD, three components have to be assessed: 1) The global, regional and national burden of morbidity and mortality associated with HCV infection, based on prevalence, incidence, transmission and economics; 2) The natural history of HCV infection, including 'healthy individuals'; and 3) The areas for which more research is needed. A working group was created to assist the World Health organization (WHO) in estimating the GBD associated with HCV infection.