One-third (32%) of people who contract hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a child will go on to develop cirrhosis at a median of 33 years post-infection, according to new research.
The study, highlighting the importance of testing and early intervention in young patients with HCV, helps clinicians quantify the means by which infection is occurring in children.
Investigators from Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital and Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust analyzed data from the HCV Research UK database, finding 1049 enrollees who were diagnosed with HCV as a child. They found that most of the patients had contracted the virus through the use of intravenous drugs (52%), and the next-largest category contracted the disease via blood products (24%). Another 11% contracted the virus through perinatal infection.