The aim of the study was to analyse the current literature regarding the mode of transmission of HCV and its global prevalence in different groups of people. A systematic review of the literature on the epidemiology of hepatitis C from 1991 to 2000 using computerized bibliographic databases which include Medline, Current Content and Embase. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) varies tremendously in different parts of the world, with the highest incidence in the Eastern parts of the globe compared with the Western parts. Furthermore, certain groups of individuals such as intravenous drug users are at increased risk of acquiring this disease irrespective of the geographical location. Although the main route of transmission is via contaminated blood, curiously enough in up to 50% of the cases no recognizable transmission factor/route could be identified. Therefore, a number of other routes of transmission such as sexual or household exposure to infected contacts have been investigated with conflicting results. Hepatitis C infection is an important public health issue globally. Better understanding of routes of transmission will help to combat the spread of disease. In order to prevent a world wide epidemic of this disease, urgent measures are required to (i) develop a strategy to inform and educate the public regarding this disease and (ii) expedite the efforts to develop a vaccine.