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J Viral Hepat. 2015 Jul;22(7):571-3. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12400. Epub 2015 Mar 6.

Where next for hepatitis B and C surveillance?

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Global Hepatitis Programme, Department of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland.


Hepatitis B and C infections are responsible for significant burden of disease accounting for 1.3 million deaths globally. There is a lack of quality data on the burden of disease due to these infections. One approach to informing policy makers on trends in hepatitis B and C is through case reporting of diagnosed cases. Data on these cases can identify outbreaks of hepatitis and monitor trends in acute and chronic infection. The European Centers for Disease Control (ECDC) has developed standardized case definitions and a harmonized reporting framework. Two articles in this issue summarize the trends in hepatitis B and C infection in Europe. The results show considerable variability in reported cases across countries, reflecting in part differences in testing practices. Risk factor information highlights the continued importance of injecting drug use as a risk factor for hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis case reporting provides valuable information, and more complete reporting will improve the utility of the data. For a comprehensive epidemiologic assessment of the burden of hepatitis, case reporting should be complemented by other sources of data, such as serologic and behavioural surveys.


Europe; case reporting; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; surveillance

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