Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects the liver, causing inflammation. Chronic infection with this virus results in healthy liver tissue being replaced with scar tissue. Over time, as scarring spreads throughout this vital organ, cirrhosis sets in and the liver becomes increasingly dysfunctional. If HCV is left untreated, serious complications can develop and the risk of liver cancer is increased.
There are many strains, or genotypes, of hepatitis C virus, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. These genotypes can be further divided into subtypes, such as 1a, 1b and so on.
Genotype 1 is relatively common among people with HCV in Canada and other high-income countries. Due to travel and immigration, other genotypes can also be found in high-income countries.