Author(s): Esteban JI, Sauleda S, Quer J
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Abstract The epidemic of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Europe is continuously evolving and epidemiological parameters (prevalence, incidence, disease transmission patterns and genotype distribution) have changed substantially during the last 15 years. Four main factors contribute to such changes: increased blood transfusion safety, improvement of healthcare conditions, continuous expansion of intravenous drug use and immigration to Europe from endemic areas. As a result, intravenous drug use has become the main risk factor for HCV transmission, prevalent infections have increased and genotype distribution has changed and diversified. Hence, prevalence data from studies conducted a decade ago may not be useful to estimate the current and future burden of HCV infection and additional epidemiological studies should be conducted, as well as new preventive strategies implemented to control the silent epidemic. This review summarizes recently published data on the epidemiology of HCV infection in Europe focusing on the factors currently shaping the epidemic.
This article was published in J Hepatol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology