Depending on the country, hepatitis C virus infection can be concentrated in certain populations (for example, among people who inject drugs) and/or in general populations.
There are multiple strains (or genotypes) of the HCV virus and their distribution varies by region.
About 15–45% of infected persons spontaneously clear the virus within 6 months of infection without any treatment. The most affected regions are WHO Eastern Mediterranean and European Regions, with the prevalence of 2.3% and 1.5% respectively.
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There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, therefore prevention of HCV infection depends upon reducing the risk of exposure to the virus in health-care settings and in higher risk populations, for example, people who inject drugs, and through sexual contact.
In April 2016, WHO updated its "Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C".
These guidelines complement existing WHO guidance on the prevention of transmission of bloodborne viruses, including HCV.
They are intended for policy-makers, government officials, and others working in low- and middle-income countries who are developing programmes for the screening, care and treatment of people with HCV infection.
The cure rate depends on several factors including the strain of the virus and the type of treatment given.