• Chronic hepatitis B and C infections in the Netherlands: estimated prevalence in risk groups and the general population.

      Koopsen, J; van Steenbergen, J E; Richardus, J H; Prins, M; Op de Coul, E L M; Croes, E A; Heil, J; Zuure, F R; Veldhuijzen, I K (2019-01-01)
      Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are usually asymptomatic for decades, thus targeted screening can prevent liver disease by timely diagnosis and linkage to care. More robust estimates of chronic HBV and HCV infections in the general population and risk groups are needed. Using a modified workbook method, the total number of ever chronically infected individuals in the Netherlands in 2016 was determined using population size and prevalence estimates from studies in the general and high-risk population. The estimated 2016 chronic HBV infection prevalence is 0.34% (low 0.22%, high 0.47%), corresponding to approximately 49 000 (low 31 000, high 66 000) HBV-infected individuals aged 15 years and older. The estimated ever-chronic HCV infection prevalence is 0.16% (low 0.06%, high 0.27%), corresponding to approximately 23 000 (low 8000, high 38 000) ever-chronic HCV-infected individuals. The prevalence of chronic HBV and HCV infections in the Netherlands is low. First-generation migrants account for most infections with 81% and 60% of chronic HBV and HCV infections, respectively. However, about one-fifth of HCV infections is found in the general population at low risk. This method can serve as an example for countries in need of more accurate prevalence estimates, to help the design and evaluation of prevention and control policies.
    • Strategies for achieving viral hepatitis C micro-elimination in the Netherlands.

      Kracht, P A M; Arends, J E; van Erpecum, K J; Urbanus, A; Willemse, J A; Hoepelman, A I M; Croes, E A (2018)
      The Netherlands is striving to achieve national elimination of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as one of the first countries worldwide. The favorable HCV epidemiology with both low prevalence and incidence, together with access to care and treatment, present excellent conditions to further build on towards this objective. The Dutch national plan on viral hepatitis, introduced in 2016, defines targets in the HCV healthcare cascade and provides a structural framework for the development of elimination activities. Since many different stakeholders are involved in HCV care in the Netherlands, focus has been placed on micro-elimination initiatives as a pragmatic and efficient approach. These numerous micro-eliminations projects have brought the Netherlands closer to HCV elimination. In the near future, efforts specifically have to be made in order to optimize case-finding strategies and to successfully accomplish the nationwide implementation of the registration and monitoring system of viral hepatitis mono-infections, before this final goal can be reached. The upcoming years will then elucidate if the Dutch' hands on approach has resulted in sufficient progress against HCV and if the Netherlands will lead the way towards nationwide HCV elimination.