Transmission is through percutaneous exposure to infected blood, most commonly through injection of illicit drugs or transfusion of contaminated blood products in developed countries, or via contaminated medical or dental equipment in resource-poor countries.
Following acute exposure, about 55% to 85% of patients develop chronic hepatitis C.
Most infections are asymptomatic; however, hepatic inflammation is often present and can lead to progressive hepatic fibrosis.
The goal of treatment is to eradicate the virus and achieve a sustained virologic response.
Therapy has shifted away from the use of pegylated interferon towards oral direct-acting antiviral therapies; therapy is evolving at a rapid pace.
Long-term complications include cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.