Departments of *Medicine †Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.
Approximately 2.7 to 4.1 million people have chronic hepatitis C (HCV) in the United States. Although often thought of as an asymptomatic disease, several studies have revealed that those with chronic HCV experience increased work impairment manifested as decreased work productivity and increased absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work while being impaired). This review article summarizes the current literature examining the link between chronic HCV and work impairment for those with and without treatment and liver transplant recipients. We searched PubMed for epidemiological studies of HCV and its effect on worker productivity. We used a combination of the keywords "Hepatitis C," "disability," "work," "occupation," "labor," "productivity," and "absenteeism." Multiple studies were identified in our search and all confirmed the hypothesis that chronic HCV infection, with and without active treatment, lead to decreased work productivity and increased absenteeism. This was also found to be true for those who had undergone liver transplantation. Those living with chronic HCV infection experience increased work impairment manifested as decreased work productivity and increased absenteeism. This was found to be true whether or not patients were undergoing active treatment and for liver transplant recipients. Identifying a trend toward increased disability in patients with chronic HCV can help promote appropriate health care, government, and work allocation of resources to help minimize economic, social, and health burdens.