Hepatitis C - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2019

Surveillance report
Publication series: Annual Epidemiological Report
Time period covered: This report is based on 2019 data retrieved from The European Surveillance System (TESSy) on 12 April 2021.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Hepatitis C. In: ECDC. Annual epidemiological report for 2019. Stockholm: ECDC; 2021.

In 2019, 37 733 cases of hepatitis C were reported in 29 EU/EEA Member States. Excluding countries that only reported acute cases leaves 37 660 cases, which corresponds to a crude rate of 8.9 cases per 100 000 population. Of the cases reported, 6% were classified as acute, 22% as chronic and 69% 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 both males and females was 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 45% 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 the late stages, surveillance based on notification data is challenging, with data reflecting testing practices rather than true occurrence of disease.