The number of newly diagnosed hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections reported from countries across Europe remains high, according to new surveillance data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
In 2016, 30 European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries reported 29,307 cases of HBV, equating to a crude rate of 5.5 cases per 100,000 population.
Of these cases, 8.6 per cent were reported as acute, 60.3 per cent as chronic, 30.0 per cent as unknown and 1.1 per cent were unclassifiable. The United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) reported 57.7 per cent of all chronic cases.
The rate of acute cases continues to decline, in accordance with global trends, most likely reflecting the impact of national vaccination programmes, said the report.
Among acute cases reported with complete information, heterosexual transmission was most common (30.2%), followed by nosocomial transmission (16.6%) and transmission among men who have sex with men (12.4%)
Among chronic cases, nosocomial transmission (32.6%) and mother-to-child transmission (31.6%) were the most common routes of transmission reported.
Prevention and control programmes need further scaling up if European countries are to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of hepatitis B virus elimination by 2030, the report notes.