Liver disease in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is most commonly due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and contributes to increased rates of mortality. Among the pre-dialysis population, the estimated prevalence of anti-HCV positivity is based on few, limited-size studies. In hemodialysis patients however, HCV remains very prevalent despite large declines in seropositivity rates in dialysis facilities in developed countries after preventive measures were adopted in the 1990s. Recent surveys indicate that the HCV seropositivity prevalence ranges from 1.4%-28.3%, and 4.7%-41.9%, among maintenance dialysis patients in developed and developing countries respectively. Although the full extent of dialysis unit-associated HCV transmission is unknown, outbreaks continue to occur, regardless of health system infrastucture. According to US Centers for Disease Control data, over 50% of health care-associated HCVoutbreaks reported from 2008 to 2015 occurred within dialysis facilities. Strict adherence to infection control procedures and routine serologic screening plays a pivotal role in preventing transmission of HCV within hemodialysis units, even in the setting of low HCV prevalence. With the advent of directly acting antivirals, cure of HCV-infected patients on maintenance hemodialysis will help reduce transmission within units and further lower the frequency of HCV infection.
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