Why is hepatitis C virus (HCV) considered a major public health problem?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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HCV is a major public health problem because it causes chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCV also induces extrahepatic manifestations such as mixed cryoglobulinemia, porphyria cutanea tarda, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, lichen planus (LP), and sicca syndrome, all of which should be regarded as early markers of a potentially fatal chronic liver disease. [8] Other commonly encountered dermatological disorders linked with HCV infection globally include urticaria, pruritus, thrombocytopenic purpura, and psoriasis. [9, 10, 11] HCV has been postulated to up-regulate inflammatory cytokines that enhance susceptibility to psoriasis. [12] Unfortunately, testing for this viral infection, even among those Americans commercially insured who inject drugs, especially male rural residents with skin infections, is infrequent. [13]

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