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J Viral Hepat. 2014 May;21 Suppl 1:1-4. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12253.

Hepatitis C disease burden and strategies to manage the burden (Guest Editors Mark Thursz, Gregory Dore and John Ward).

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Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection leads to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The recent Global Burden of Disease project estimated that in 2010 among 170 million people living with chronic HCV, an estimated 483,100 people died from HCV-related liver failure or HCC. The last two decades has seen progressive improvements in treatment of HCV infection with the most recent therapies offering simple, tolerable, short-duration therapy with extremely high efficacy. The development of public health strategies addressing emerging epidemics requires sound epidemiological data. This study covers epidemiological data collection, detailed expert opinion input and country-specific mathematical modelling of the HCV epidemic and potential impact of improved HCV treatment strategies in 16 countries. The analysis demonstrates that the HCV epidemics vary considerably in terms of age distribution of the infected population across countries. In addition, the burden of advanced liver disease varies widely. This burden is dependent upon factors including chronic HCV prevalence, age distribution (and duration of infection) of those infected, prevalence of cofactors for disease progression (particularly heavy alcohol intake) and uptake and success of therapeutic intervention. Introduction of new therapies with assumed sustained virological response (SVR) rate of >90% will have a modest impact on projected advanced liver disease burden. A combination of enhanced treatment efficacy and improved treatment uptake will have a greater impact on population-level disease burden. However public health advocacy and both public and private sector investment in the HCV response are required to demonstrate significant reduction in HCV disease burden.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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