Published online Oct 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i38.10790
Peer-review started: March 28, 2015
First decision: April 24, 2015
Revised: May 20, 2015
Accepted: August 31, 2015
Article in press: August 31, 2015
Published online: October 14, 2015
In Iran, the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is relatively low according to the population-based epidemiological studies. However, the epidemiology of HCV is changing and the rate of HCV infection is increasing due to the growth in the number of injecting drug users in the society. In addition, a shift has occurred in the distribution pattern of HCV genotypes among HCV-infected patients in Iran. Genotype 1a is the most prevalent genotype in Iran, but in recent years, an increase in the frequency of 3a and a decrease in 1a and 1b have been reported. These variations in the epidemiology of HCV reflect differences in the routes of transmission, status of public health, lifestyles, and risk factors in different groups and geographic regions of Iran. Health policy makers should consider these differences to establish better strategies for control and prevention of HCV infection. Therefore, this review was conducted to present a clear view regarding the current epidemiology of HCV infection in Iran.
Core tip: The distribution patterns of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are related to different status of public health and the presence of risk factors in the society. In Iran, the predominance of risk factors for transmission of HCV has changed from blood transfusion to intravenous drug use; and due to the growth in the number of injecting drug users, the prevalence of HCV infection is rising in the country. Even the recent changes in the distribution pattern of HCV genotypes confirm this issue. Overall, the epidemiology of HCV is changing in Iran. Therefore, this review was conducted to present a clear view about current epidemiology of HCV in Iran.