HCV has been classified into no fewer than six major genotypes and a series of subtypes. Each HCV genotype is unique with respect to its nucleotide sequence, geographic distribution, and response to therapy. Genotypes 1, 2, and 3 are common throughout North America and Europe. HCV genotype 4 (HCV-4) is common in the Middle East and in Africa, where it is responsible for more than 80% of HCV infections. It has recently spread to several European countries. HCV-4 is considered a major cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplantation in these regions. Although HCV-4 is the cause of approximately 20% of the 170 million cases of chronic hepatitis C in the world, it has not been the subject of widespread research. Therefore, this document, drafted by a panel of international experts, aimed to review current knowledge on the epidemiology, natural history, clinical, histological features, and treatment of HCV-4 infections.
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