The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is of the genus Hepacivirus, family Flaviviridae. It is an RNA virus with at least six different genotypes. HCV is responsible for between 15% to 20% of all cases of acute hepatitis. It is also the most common cause of chronic liver disease. HCV is also the most common cause of post-transfusion hepatitis in the US.
In 2019, a total of 4,136 new cases of acute hepatitis C were reported to the CDC from 44 states. Based on this number, the CDC estimates a total of 57,500 new acute cases of HCV in 2019.
HCV is now more prevalent in the US than HBV. The number of chronic HBV infections is estimated to be around 862,000 while the number of chronic HCV infections is estimated to be around 2.4 million in the US. This is partially due to the lack of a vaccine against HCV, as well as a higher rate of chronic HCV infections compared to HBV.
HCV is transmitted mainly through exposure to infectious blood or bodily fluids. Since this is similar to HBV, the modes of transmission and the populations at risk are similar between the two diseases.