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Hepatitis C Virus 

Hepatitis C Virus
Chapter:
Hepatitis C Virus
Author(s):

Jonathan R. Honegger

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190604813.003.0005
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date: 16 September 2019

An estimated 185 million individuals have been infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide. Although often clinically silent for decades, chronic HCV infection predisposes to late-onset complications, including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HCV affects approximately 5% of children born to viremic mothers and is the primary route of HCV infection in young children. While some vertically acquired HCV infections are resolved during the first years of life, many persist indefinitely. Chronically infected children tend to be asymptomatic and have mild liver disease, but they face a risk of progression to advanced liver disease in adulthood. Current diagnostic and management strategies leave most infected children undiagnosed and untreated. Widespread use of newly-available direct-acting antiviral therapies has the potential to substantially reduce the global burden of HCV, including vertically acquired HCV, but an effective vaccine likely will be required to achieve this ultimate goal.

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