Editor-in-Chief & Deputy Editor 2019-2021





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Expert Point Of View

Hepatitis C : Screening, treatment and prevention Practical guidelines

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Introduction Hepatitis C is a major health problem worldwide. According to the WHO, there are an estimated 170 million people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) (1). In Belgium, the prevalence of hepatitis C is approximately 1% (2). Blood transfusion used to be a major risk factor for acquiring HCV infection before screening for antibodies to HCV in the early nineties (in Belgium : from 01.07.1990 on). Injection drug use is now the most frequently identified risk factor for acquiring this infection. Thirty seven to 98 % of the intravenous drug users are seropositive for HCV (3,4). Approximately 80% of HCV infected patients develop chronic hepatitis C. About 20% of these patients will develop severe chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis, which becomes detectable in the second and third decade after infection. In the presence of cirrhosis, there is a 1-4% yearly risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (5). Because chronic liver disease may develop many years after acute hepatitis C virus infection, the past incidence of acute infection is a major determinant of the future burden of HCV associated complications. Although the prevalence of HCV infection may be declining because of the decline in incidence in the 90s, the number of persons infected for ≥ 20 years could increase substantially before peaking in 2015 (6). In most infected people the infection remains unrecognised, and most of those with a diagnosed infection.. [Product Details...]