Published: 05 September 2012
As well as increasing the risk of death from liver disease, chronic hepatitis C virus infection increased the risk of death from circulatory and kidney disease as well as several non-liver-related cancers, investigators report in the August 15thedition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Researchers in Taiwan compared mortality rates between three groups of people: those who had never been infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV); individuals who had antibodies to hepatitis C but who had cleared the infection; and people with chronic hepatitis C infection, indicated by detectable levels of virus.
Mortality rates were similar for the first two groups. However, people with chronic hepatitis C infection were significantly more likely to die of liver disease and a number of other causes.
“We found that anti-HCV seropositives with detectable HCV RNA had an increased risk of dying from all causes of death, whereas the risk for anti-HCV seropositives with negative HCV RNA was similar to the risk for anti-HCV seronegatives,” write the investigators.