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Scientific Review of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Status: Listed in the Report on Carcinogens (RoC)

Primary Uses or Exposures: HCV is an RNA-enveloped virus. The major risk factor for infection is illegal intravenous drug use, which accounts for 60% of acute HCV infections in adults. Since the screening of blood and blood products for HCV began in the 1990s, blood transfusion has accounted for only a small percentage of adult HCV cases (about 3%). Other routes of transmission include sexual, perinatal (from mother to infant at birth), familial (at low rates), and through health-care practices, including transmission by contaminated equipment or supplies, from patient to patient (at low rates), and through occupational exposure (at low rates).

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