Hepatitis C - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018
In 2018, 37 527 cases of hepatitis C were reported in 29 EU/EEA Member States. The number is 37 427 when countries that only reported acute cases are excluded, which corresponds to a crude rate of 8.8 cases per 100 000 population. Of the cases reported, 4% were classified as acute, 26% as chronic and 67% as ‘unknown’. Hepatitis C was more commonly reported among men than women, with a male-to-female ratio of 2.1:1. The most affected age group among males was between 35–44 years and for females between 25–34 years. Mode of transmission was reported for just 21% of cases. The most commonly reported mode was injecting drug use, which accounted for 46% of cases with complete information on transmission status. The interpretation of hepatitis C notification data across countries remains problematic, with ongoing differences in surveillance systems and difficulties in defining reported cases as acute or chronic. With hepatitis C, a largely asymptomatic disease until its late stages, surveillance based on notification data is challenging, with data reflecting testing practices rather than true occurrence of disease.