Hepatitis B - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2019
For 2019, 30 EU/EEA Member States reported 29 996 cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Excluding the five countries that only reported acute cases, the number of cases, 29 518, corresponds to a crude rate of 7.4 cases per 100 000 population. Of all cases, 6% were reported as acute, 48% as chronic, 38% as ‘unknown’ and 7% 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 continued 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 (27%), followed by nosocomial transmission (17%) and transmission among men who have sex with men (13%). Among chronic cases, mother-to-child transmission and nosocomial transmission were the most common routes of transmission reported (36% and 20% 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.