Hepatitis C infects almost 2% of US population
Almost 2% of the population in the United States is infected with hepatitis C, according to a new comprehensive national report, making the virus the most common chronic blood borne infection in the country.
The report was based on data gathered through the third national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES III), a government programme that surveyed 40000 people throughout the United States from 1988 to 1994. According to the report, about 3.9 million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus, making the overall prevalence of people with antibodies to hepatitis C 1.8%. The estimated prevalence in the United Kingdom is just under 1%. Seventy four per cent of subjects were positive for hepatitis C virus RNA, indicating that an estimated 2.7 million people are chronically infected.
Among subjects aged 17 to 59 years the strongest factors independently associated with hepatitis C virus infection were use of illegal drugs