Hepatitis C prevalence in England remains low and varies by ethnicity: An updated evidence synthesis

Ross J. Harris*, Mary Ramsay, Vivian D. Hope, Lisa Brant, Matthew Hickman, Graham R. Foster, Daniela De Angelis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    73 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Previous evidence synthesis estimates of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in England did not consider excess HCV risk in ethnic minority populations. We incorporate new information on HCV risk among non-injectors by ethnic group, and additional information on injecting prevalence in order to generate new and updated estimates of HCV prevalence risk in England for 2005. Methods: Bayesian evidence synthesis was used to combine multiple sources of data that directly or indirectly provide information on the populations at risk, or prevalence of HCV infection. HCV data were modelled by region, age group and sex as well as ethnicity for never-injectors and by injecting status (ex and current). Results: Overall HCV antibody prevalence in England was estimated at 0.67% [95% credible interval (95% CrI): 0.50-0.94] of those aged 15-59 years, or 203000 (153000, 286000) individuals. HCV prevalence in never-injectors remains low, even after accounting for ethnicity, with a prevalence of 0.05% (95% CrI 0.03-0.10) in those of white/other ethnicity and 0.76% (0.48-1.23) in South Asians. Estimates are similar to 2003, although patterns of injecting drug use are different, with an older population of current injecting drug users and lower estimated numbers of ex-injectors, but higher HCV prevalence. Conclusions: Incorporating updated information, including data on ethnicity and improved data on injectors, gave similar overall estimates of HCV prevalence in England. Further information on HCV in South Asians and natural history of injecting are required to reduce uncertainty of estimates. This method may be applied to other countries and settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-192
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    United Kingdom Department of Health (grant number GHP 003/002/ 024) (to R.J.H.).


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