Towards elimination of hepatitis B and C in European Union and European Economic Area countries: monitoring the World Health Organization’s global health sector strategy core indicators and scaling up key interventions


It is estimated that ca 4.7 million people living in European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 5.6 million have been infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Both are major causes of chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The resulting burden of disease presents a public health challenge for national health systems. While the incidence of new infections has declined in many European countries due to implementation of effective vaccination programmes (against hepatitis B) and prevention strategies targeting transmission through injecting drug use and healthcare, modelling suggests that morbidity and mortality will continue to increase. Indeed, deaths from hepatitis now exceed those from HIV and tuberculosis combined and latest published estimates show that 96,000 people die each year in EU/EEA countries from HBV and HCV-related liver disease.

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