Hepatitis C: global epidemiology and strategies for control

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2016 Oct;22(10):833-838. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2016.07.035. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


It is estimated that globally there are approximately 100 million persons with serological evidence of current or past HCV infection, and that HCV causes about 700 000 deaths each year. The prevalence of infection is the highest in lower and middle income countries, in which a significant number of past infections were caused by iatrogenic transmission and sub-optimal injection safety. In contrast, in developed countries, infections are caused mainly by high-risk exposures and behaviours among specific populations, such as persons who inject drugs. Recently, new direct antiviral activity (DAA) oral drugs with high rates of cure over short duration, which are well tolerated, have made chronic hepatitis C a curable condition. The extraordinary clinical performance of DAAs and recent substantial price reductions and expansion in access in resource-limited settings has provided new impetus for potential control and elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat. We review the global epidemiology of HCV and the opportunities for preventative and treatment interventions to achieve global control of HCV infection. We also summarize the key elements of the World Health Organization's first-ever global health sector strategy for addressing the viral hepatitis pandemic.

Keywords: Control; Epidemiology; Eradication; Global health; Hepatitis C.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / economics
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • World Health Organization / organization & administration


  • Antiviral Agents