A nationwide seroepidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in South Korea

Do Young Kim, In Hee Kim, Sook Hyang Jeong, Yong Kyun Cho, Joon Hyoek Lee, Young Joo Jin, Don Lee, Dong Jin Suh, Kwang Hyub Han, Neung Hwa Park, Ha Yan Kang, Young Kul Jung, Young Seok Kim, Kyung Ah Kim, Youn Jae Lee, Byung Seok Lee, Hyung Joon Yim, Heon Ju Lee, Soon Koo Baik, Won Young TakSun Jae Lee, Woo Jin Chung, Sung Kyu Choi, Eun Young Cho, Jeong Heo, Dong Joon Kim, Byung Cheol Song, Man Woo Kim, Jun Lee, Hee Bok Chae, Dae Hee Choi, Hwa Young Choi, Moran Ki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: The aim of this study was to reveal nationwide seroprevalence of HCV infection in South Korea by a large-scale survey. Methods: From January to December 2009, a total of 291 314 adults underwent health check-up in 29 centres nationwide. The data concerning anti-HCV antibody and biochemical tests were obtained from all participants. Among subjects with positive anti-HCV, such data as HCV RNA, genotypes and treatment detail were additionally analysed. Results: Using an estimated 2009 population of Korea, the age, sex and area-adjusted anti-HCV positive rate was 0.78%. Anti-HCV prevalence in female patients (0.83%) was higher than that in male patients (0.75%). Gradual increase in anti-HCV positivity was observed, from 0.34% in those aged 20-29 years to 2.31% in those >70 years. The age- and sex-adjusted anti-HCV prevalence varied in different areas, being higher in Busan and Jeonnam (1.53-2.07%), mid-level in Seoul and surrounding districts (0.50-0.61%) and lower in Jeju (0.23%). The comparative analysis of laboratory variables between anti-HCV (+) and anti-HCV (-) group revealed significantly higher levels of alanine aminotransferase and lower levels of serum lipids in anti-HCV (+) group. Among 1 718 anti-HCV positive subjects, serum HCV RNA was measured only in 478 people, of whom 268 (56.1%) patients had detectable HCV RNA in serum. Among 50 patients for whom assessment of response to antiviral therapy was feasible, overall sustained virological response was achieved in 84% of patients. Conclusion: The prevalence of HCV infection is low in South Korea. Studies to analyse risk factors are warranted to reduce HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalLiver International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Infection
  • Korea
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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