Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been a severe public health burden since its discovery more than 30 years ago. It is predicted that more than 80 million people have already been affected. Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy is now available for young children over the age of three. It is preferable to treat youngsters before they develop high-risk habits. As a result, examining the current epidemiology of HCV in children is critical and may raise awareness. Studies focusing solely on high-risk populations were omitted from the analysis of HCV infection prevalence in the general population.

A total of 58 studies’ data were evaluated. HCV prevalence in children was reported to be 0.87% overall, ranging from 0.34% in Europe to 3.02% in Africa. Data synthesis from available data revealed that HCV viremia was found in 56.8% of children. In 25 investigations, the sexual prevalence of HCV has been described but no gender difference has been identified. Compared to children aged under 10 years of age, the HCV prevalence was substantially greater in children older than 10 years.

In view of the likely underdiagnosis of HCV in kids, this data shows a considerable prevalence. It may be argued that future attempts for the elimination of HCV may also need to incorporate pre-adolescent antiviral therapy.

Reference: https://journals.lww.com/jpgn/Abstract/2021/06000/Seroprevalence_of_Hepatitis_C_in_Children_Without.7.aspx