Health complications resulting from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) will escalate immensely during the next 20 years, according to an analysis by the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) and reported by In fact, HCV-related costs in that country are projected to reach more than $258 million.

The study, which looks at the long-term impact of HCV, attributes most of these future expenses to cirrhosis and its complications, including liver cancer and liver transplants, which often result from untreated hepatitis C infections.

CLF predicts cirrhosis cases will expand more than 80 percent while liver-cancer rates related to hep C will skyrocket 200 percent over the next two decades. The analysis also expects a 160 percent rise in liver-related deaths.

Overall, spending on hep C in Canada is projected to increase from $161.4 million in 2013 to nearly $260 million a year if the escalating epidemic is left unchecked.

To prevent these health risks and costs, the CLF study suggests that Canada begin a comprehensive disease-prevention strategy using new, highly effective hepatitis C drugs and national testing campaigns to both find and cure the disease before dangerous complications arise.

To read the full report, published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and titled Burden of Disease and Cost of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Canada, click here.