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News

Changing burden of Hepatitis C virus infection in the United States

The latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine makes predictions on the changing burden of Hepatitis C virus infection.

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Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes a substantial health and economic burden in the United States. With the availability of direct-acting antiviral agents, recently approved therapies and those under development, and 1-time birth-cohort screening, the burden of this disease is expected to decrease.

Dr Chhatwal and colleagues from Texas, USA predicted the effect of new therapies and screening on chronic HCV infection and associated disease outcomes.

The research team evaluated existing and anticipated therapies and screening for HCV infection in the United States.

The team assessed the total HCV-infected population in the United States.

Outcomes included the number of cases of chronic HCV infection and outcomes of advanced-stage HCV infection.
Chronic HCV cases decreased from 3.2 million in 2001 to 2.3 million in 2013
Annals of Internal Medicine

The number of cases of chronic HCV infection decreased from 3.2 million in 2001 to 2.3 million in 2013.

The researchers report that 1-time birth-cohort screening beginning in 2013 is expected to identify 487,000 cases of HCV infection in the next 10 years.

In contrast, 1-time universal screening could identify 933,700 cases.

With the availability of highly effective therapies, HCV infection could become a rare disease in the next 22 years.

The team found that recently approved therapies for HCV infection and 1-time birth-cohort screening could prevent approximately 124,200 cases of decompensated cirrhosis, 78,800 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, 126,500 liver-related deaths, and 9900 liver transplantations by 2050.

Increasing the treatment capacity would further reduce the burden of HCV disease.

Dr Chhatwal's team concludes, "New therapies for HCV infection and widespread implementation of screening and treatment will play an important role in reducing the burden of HCV disease."

"More aggressive screening recommendations are needed to identify a large pool of infected patients."

Ann Intern Med 2014; 161(3): 170-180
06 August 2014

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