Hepatitis C is a viral infection, which causes inflammation of the liver. It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Sharing injecting needles and equipment (‘works’) with someone who is infected is the most common way to get hepatitis C in Ireland. About 25% of people who are infected clear the virus within one year of infection. The remaining 75% develop chronic (long-term) infection. This can cause serious liver disease, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. This liver damage occurs gradually over 20-30 years in people with chronic infection. Hepatitis C became a notifiable disease in Ireland in 2004.
New treatments for hepatitis C have become available in recent years. These result in a cure for about 95% of people who are infected. For more information on treatment please see:
Number of hepatitis C notifications and notification rate per 100,000 population, 2004-2018
Last updated: 17 April 2019