Prevalence of hepatitis C infection among the general population and high-risk groups in the EU/EEA: a systematic review update

Prevalence of hepatitis C infection among the general population and high-risk groups in the EU/EEA: a systematic review update

2019 BMC Infect Dis

Han, R. | Zhou, J. | François, C. | Toumi, M. | Volume: 19, Issue: 1, Pages: 655, Adult, Blood Donors/statistics & numerical data, Europe/epidemiology, European Union, Female, Hepatitis C/*epidemiology, Hepatitis C Antibodies/blood, Homosexuality, Male, Humans, Male, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology/virology, Pregnant Women, Prevalence, Prisoners/statistics & numerical data, Sexual and Gender Minorities/statistics & numerical data, Europe, Hepatitis C, High-risk groups, Men who have sex with men, People who inject drugs, Prisoners, Systematic review,

BACKGROUND: Although significant improvement in efficacy measured by a sustained virological response, the high acquisition costs of direct-acting antivirals limit the access for patients and influence the costs of healthcare resource utilisation in hepatitis C. It is important to have the latest estimates of prevalence, especially in high-risk groups, for cost of illness, cost-effectiveness and budget impact studies. METHODS: Original studies on the estimates of the prevalence among general and high-risk groups in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) were retrieved from Medline and Embase for the period from 2015 to 2018. All included studies were evaluated for risk of selection bias and summarised together in a narrative form. Results from previous reviews and updated searches were compared per country among different populations, respectively. RESULTS: Among the 3871 studies identified, 46 studies were included: 20 studies were used for the estimate of the general population; 3 for men who have sex with men (MSM); 6 for prisoners; and 17 for people who inject drugs (PWID). Compared with the results reported in previous systematic reviews, the updated estimates were lower than previously in most available countries. Anti-HCV general population prevalence estimates ranged from 0.54 to 1.50% by country. The highest prevalence of anti-HCV was found among PWID (range of 7.90-82.00%), followed by prisoners (7.00-41.00%), HIV-positive MSM (1.80-7.10%), HIV-negative MSM (0.20-1.80%), pregnant women (0.10-1.32%) and first-time blood donors (0.03-0.09%). CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the heterogeneity in anti-HCV prevalence across different population groups in EU/EEA. The prevalence also varies widely between European countries. There are many countries that are not represented in our results, highlighting the need for the development of robust epidemiological studies.

https://www.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4284-9