Year 2021 / Volume 113 / Number 1
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Year 2021 / Volume 113 / Number 1


Prevalence and detection of undiagnosed active hepatitis C virus infections in Navarre, Spain, 2017-2019


Cristina Burgui, Carmen Martín, Aitziber Aguinaga, Alejandra Pérez-García, Carmen Ezpeleta, Jesús Castilla,

Background: undiagnosed active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains an obstacle towards its eradication. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of HCV infection and to describe the diagnostic advances in Navarre, Spain. Methods: HCV-infection diagnostic performance was analyzed in Navarre’s primary and specialized health care between 2017 and 2019. The prevalence of undiagnosed infections was estimated for patients with programmed surgeries unrelated to HCV infection, who underwent a routine HCV antibody (anti-HCV) determination. HCV-RNA (viral load) was quantified in anti-HCV positive cases. The prevalence was standardized according to the sex and age distribution in the general population. Results: from the 63,405 subjects examined for anti-HCV, 84 (five per 100,000 person-years) were diagnosed with an active infection. In Primary Health Care, 20,363 patients were analyzed and 47 active infections were detected, i.e. one case for every 433 people tested, implying 56 % of all identified active infections. On the other hand, 9,399 surgical patients were analyzed and 120 anti-HCV positive cases were detected (adjusted prevalence: 1.47 %; 95 % CI: 1.24-1.52). A positive viral load had been determined at any time in 66 cases (0.61 %), of which five were undiagnosed active infections (adjusted prevalence: 0.04 %; 95 % CI: 0.01-0.11). Preoperative screening allowed the detection of one undiagnosed infection per 795 people analyzed aged between 45 and 64 years. Conclusions: Primary Health Care efficiently contributes to the detection of undiagnosed HCV active infections. This may be speeded up by performing population screening, targeting subjects between 45 and 64 years of age.

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Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva
The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology is the official organ of the Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva, the Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva and the Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva
© 2021 The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology