Hepatitis C in England

  • Public Health England

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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Around 89,000 people in England were living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in 2019, a fall of around 30 per cent on estimates for 2015, according to the latest figures from Public Health England (PHE).

The new Hepatitis C in England 2020 report shows that injecting drug use continues to be the most important risk factor for HCV infection, being cited as the risk in over 90 per cent of all laboratory reports where risk factors have been disclosed.

Sentinel surveillance data suggests that of all individuals testing positive for anti-HCV in 2018, 85 per cent were tested for HCV RNA. Among persons who were HCV RNA tested after a positive anti-HCV test, 52 per cent were RNA-positive. Forty-two per cent had an HCV genotype recorded; 49 per cent were genotype 1, and 43 per cent were genotype 3. The prevalence of cleared infection (anti-HCV positive, RNA-negative) has increased from 19 per cent in 2011 to 27 per cent in 2018.

With a 20 per cent fall in deaths between 2015 and 2018 in England, the WHO target to reduce HCV-related mortality by 10 per cent by 2020 has been reached three years early, doubling the 2020 target by 2018. This is supported by a 37 per cent decline in crude mortality rates among those with a reported HCV diagnosis and a 34 per cent decline in adjusted mortality rates over the same period (2015-2018). This suggests that increased treatment provision (a 131% increase in tax year 2018-2019 compared with pre-2015) with direct-acting antiviral drugs is having an impact.