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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2002 Jan;14(1):25-34.

Simulation of hepatitis C based on a mandatory reporting system.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.



Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver disease in European countries. We aimed to assess the current and future disease burden of hepatitis C.


A representative data set of hepatitis C was applied to a validated computer model.


The mandatory reporting of positive hepatitis C virus (HCV) test results by all medical laboratories in Switzerland and the clinical data obtained by questionnaire for each positive test from the treating physicians created a unique, representative epidemiological database allowing the determination of the age distribution of acute (i.e. newly acquired) and chronic HCV infections. Based on these data and a simulation model of the natural history of hepatitis C, we estimated the prevalence of HCV infection, future morbidity/mortality from cirrhosis/hepatocellular carcinoma and costs.


Our analysis estimates a prevalence of anti-HCV in Switzerland of 1.25-1.75%, which is slightly higher than prior reports (0.5-1%) derived by extrapolation from selected populations. Although new HCV infections decreased after 1990, our analysis predicts that HCV-related morbidity and mortality will increase by 70-90%, reaching a maximum in 2015-2020, largely from complications in cases already prevalent in 1998. The model predicts that the incidence of cirrhosis will begin to decrease after 2005-2010. Antiviral treatment reduces disease burden by approximately 5%. Undiscounted HCV-related annual direct costs will more than double and reach a maximum of almost US$33 million in 2020.


The incidence of HCV-related cirrhosis is predicted to decrease after 2005-2010, while disease burden and costs due to complications are estimated to continue to increase until 2015-2020.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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