A five-year survey of blood donors suggests that about 1.5 million people in Japan have contracted hepatitis C virus (HCV), narrowing down an earlier, broader estimate, according to a health ministry study group.

The research found that 0.5 percent of around 3.48 million first-time donors between 1995 and 2000 were found to have HCV antibodies, the group from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in a presentation given at an informal meeting in Tokyo.

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