Hepatitis C is caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and is mainly transmitted by blood/body fluids. According to World Health Organization estimates, 170 million people worldwide are infected with HCV. Due to the biological characteristics of the virus and host immune function and other factors, it is difficult for the body to effectively eliminate the virus, resulting in about 50% to 80% of HCV-infected persons develop chronic hepatitis, of which 20% to 30% will develop into cirrhosis. 1% to 4% of patients with cirrhosis develop hepatocellular cancer each year.
The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.