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Hepatitis B and C surveillance and screening programmes in the non-EU/EEA Member States of the WHO European Region: survey findings from 10 countries, 2012

02 Jun 2016

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemics warrant a comprehensive response based on reliable population-level information about transmission, disease progression and disease burden, with national surveillance systems playing a major role. In order to shed light on the status of surveillance in countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region outside of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA), we surveyed 18 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Among the 10 countries that responded, the common features of many surveillance systems included mandatory surveillance, passive case-finding and the reporting of both acute and chronic HBV and HCV. Only some countries had surveillance systems that incorporated the tracking of associated conditions and outcomes such as cirrhosis and liver transplantation. Screening programmes for some key populations appeared to be in place in many countries, but there may be gaps in relation to screening programmes for people who inject drugs, prisoners, sex workers and men who have sex with men. Nonetheless, important components of a surveillance structure are in place in the responding study countries. It is advisable to build on this structure to develop harmonised HBV and HCV surveillance for all 53 Member States of the WHO European Region following the example of the system recently instituted in EU/EEA countries.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Eurosurveillance