Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in Europe

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1994 Jul;14(3):267-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.1994.tb00098.x.


Epidemiology of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Europe is changing very rapidly since the main source of contamination was blood transfusion and the use of surrogate markers allowed to diminish dramatically the number of patients contaminated through HCV post transfusion hepatitis. The recent description of several genotypes with different distributions over Europe and different pathogenicity will allow to explain various evolutive aspects of the disease. At present, groups at risk are drug addicts (70%), hemophiliacs (contaminated with blood products before 1985), hemodialysis patients (20%) and patients with cirrhosis with or without hepatocellular carcinoma. The detection of HCV markers prior to blood transfusion allowed to detect asymptomatic carriers of HCV, some of them with latent chronic hepatitis which can be predicted by the detection of HCV RNA in the serum. Vertical and sexual transmission are rare but possible events observed with certainty in patients co-infected with HIV and controversial in other situations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carrier State
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Humans
  • Prevalence


  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies