Hepatitis B - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018
For 2018, 30 EU/EEA Member States reported 24 588 cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. When the five countries that only reported acute cases are excluded, the number of cases is 24 034, which corresponds to a crude rate of 6.0 cases per 100 000 population. Of all cases, 10% were reported as acute, 51% as chronic, 30% as ‘unknown’ and 9% could not be classified. The highest rate of acute infections was observed among 35–44-year-olds, the highest rate of chronic infections among 25–34-year-olds. The overall male-to-female ratio was 1.5:1. The rate of acute cases continues to decline over the last few years, which is in accordance with global trends and most likely reflects the impact of national vaccination programmes. Among acute cases with complete information, heterosexual transmission was most commonly reported (26%), followed by nosocomial transmission (19%) and transmission due to sex between men (14%). Among chronic cases, mother-to-child transmission and nosocomial transmission were the most common routes of transmission reported (37% and 26% respectively). Prevention and control programmes need further scaling up if European countries are to achieve the goal of eliminating hepatitis B. Surveillance data are important in monitoring the epidemiological situation, and there is a need to improve their quality.