The Scottish government is urging social workers to improve their knowledge of hepatitis C as part of a national awareness campaign.
It is estimated that around 50,000 people carry the liver disease, which is commonly contracted by drug users, but two-thirds are undiagnosed.
Hazel Robertson, who is a member of the Association of Directors of Social Work and sits on the hepatitis C national action plan co-ordinating group, said it was likely that many of those infected would come into contact with social services.
“Social work can play a key role in helping to tackle this issue through offering a wide range of support to people with hepatitis C. It is important to help identify those with hepatitis C from an early stage and encourage individuals to seek treatment, particularly as many will lead chaotic lifestyles,” she added.
Professionals can access information online on the testing, referral and treatment of the virus.