Stable number of hepatitis C infections

In 2016, Statens Serum Institut received 6 notifications of acute and 234 notifications of chronic hepatitis C. These numbers are in line with those recorded in recent years.

Hepatitis C rarely presents as an acute illness; it is generally diagnosed only once the chronic stage has been reached and symptoms start presenting.

However, some patients are detected through screening, and the distinction between acute and chronic hepatitis C is therefore sometimes arbitrary.

Among those notified with hepatitis C, two were intravenous drug users (IV drug users) and three were HIV-positive men who have sex with men.

As in the previous years, the majority of those notified as having been infected with chronic hepatitis C in 2016 were IV drug users. Among the 186 for whom the mode of transmission was known, 152 were notified as having been infected by IV drug use.

A total of 12 cases were notified as having been infected in connection with healthcare procedures, the majority abroad, but two had been infected through blood transfusion in Denmark prior to the introduction of screening of donor blood in 1991.

In Denmark, no real prevalence studies have been carried out among the general population. But the number of persons who have hepatitis C detected via blood donor screening is decreasing and has remained below 10 annual cases for the past 10 years.

As previously, the groups in need of hepatitis C screening include current and former IV drug users and HIV-positive patients, particularly men who have sex with men.

For more information, please see EPI-NEWS 11/17.

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