On 13 September 2019, Public Health England (PHE) published their latest reports for hepatitis C in the UK and England. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health threat in the UK and these reports summarise the scale of the problem and are intended to support focused action.
According to the UK report, new estimates suggest that around 143,000 people in the UK are living with chronic HCV infection, a reduction of more than 20% on 2015. There has also been a 19% fall in deaths reported between 2015 and 2018, and the World Health Organization (WHO) target of reducing HCV-related mortality by 10% by the year 2020 has been achieved three years early.
Latest estimates suggest that, by the end of 2018, around 21,000 people in Scotland were living with chronic HCV infection and that half of those are thought to be undiagnosed. This underlines the importance of continued efforts to find and treat these people. Importantly, the number of new cases of HCV-related end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has fallen by 67% in Scotland between 2013 and 2018. The fall in HCV-related morbidity and mortality observed in recent years is consistent with increased treatment and sustained virological response rates (SVR) achieved with new direct acting antiviral (DAA) drugs that have taken place over the past five years.
Further information on hepatitis C in Scotland can be found on the HPS website.
Source: PHE, 12 September 2019