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Chronic hepatitis C virus infections in Switzerland in 2020: lower than expected and suggesting achievement of WHO elimination targets

Bertisch, Barbara, Schaetti, Christian, Schmid, Patrick, Peter, Laura, Vernazza, Pietro, Isler, Marc, Oppliger, Robert and Schmidt, Axel Jeremias (2023) Chronic hepatitis C virus infections in Switzerland in 2020: lower than expected and suggesting achievement of WHO elimination targets. Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 30 (8). 667 - 684. ISSN 1352-0504

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jvh.13842


In this multi-method study, we investigated the prevalence of chronic infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Switzerland in 2020, and assessed Switzerland's progress in eliminating HCV as a public health problem by 2030 with regard to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria targeting infections acquired during the preceding year (‘new transmissions’) and HCV-associated mortality. Based on a systematic literature review, the reappraisal of a 2015 prevalence analysis assuming 0.5% prevalence among the Swiss population and data from many additional sources, we estimated the prevalence among subpopulations at increased risk and the general population. For new transmissions, we evaluated mandatory HCV notification data and estimated unreported new transmissions based on subpopulation characteristics. For the mortality estimate, we re-evaluated a previous mortality estimate 1995–2014 based on new data on comorbidities and age. We found a prevalence of ≤0.1% among the Swiss population. Discrepancies to the 2015 estimate were explained by previous (i) underestimation of sustained virologic response numbers, (ii) overestimation of HCV prevalence among PWID following bias towards subgroups at highest risk, (iii) overestimation of HCV prevalence among the general population from inclusion of high-risk persons and (iv) underestimation of spontaneous clearance and mortality. Our results suggest that the WHO elimination targets have been met 10 years earlier than previously foreseen. These advancements were made possible by Switzerland's outstanding role in harm-reduction programmes, the longstanding micro-elimination efforts concerning HIV-infected MSM and nosocomial transmissions, little immigration from high-prevalence countries except Italian-born persons born before 1953, and wealth of data and funding.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 14:54
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2024 21:54

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