Viral Infections

Global Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Is High

The global prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the general population is 1.8%, according to the results of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.

Reports published by the World Health Organization have estimated that more than 3% of the global population has an HCV infection. To remedy the lack of general statistics on HCV infection worldwide, an international team of researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of HCV infection and a statistical analysis of results of general statistical studies on the prevalence of HCV in the global population.

Using keywords including prevalence, HCV, and hepatitis C, the team searched the ScienceDirect, Embase, Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science databases as well as Iran-specific databases and used the Google Scholar search engine to identify studies related to the prevalence of HCV infection. They then extracted studies from these sources without a time limit until April 2020. To analyze the qualified studies they extracted, the team used a random effects model, investigated study inconsistency with the I2 heterogeneity index, and analyzed the data collected from the studies by using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 2 software package.

Of the 98 studies included in the analysis, a total study population of nearly 237,000 persons indicated that the global prevalence of HCV infection was 1.8% (95% CI, 1.4% to 2.3%). Subgroup analysis by continent indicated that Africa had the greatest prevalence of HCV infection at 7.1% (95% CI, 4.4% to 11.5%).

“The results of this study show that the prevalence of hepatitis C in the world’s population, especially in Africa, is [fairly] high,” the team concluded. “The World Health Organization should design measures to prevent the spread of this infection.”

—Ellen Kurek


Salari N, Kazeminia M, Hemati N, Ammari-Allahyari M, Mohammadi M, Shohaimi S. Global prevalence of hepatitis C in general population: a systemic review and meta‑analysis. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2022;46:102255. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2022.10225