Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in a large Israeli health maintenance organization

Weil C, Nwankwo C, Friedman M, Kenet G, Chodick G, Shalev V

J. Med. Virol. 2016 Jun;88(6):1044-50

PMID: 26538137


Hepatitis C affects an estimated 130 million people worldwide and is a major cause of chronic liver disease. This retrospective database study aims to describe the epidemiology of HCV-infected patients in Maccabi Healthcare Services, a 2-million-member health maintenance organization in Israel. HCV was identified by cross-linking diagnoses, laboratory data, and dispensed HCV treatment (1993-2013). The point-prevalence of HCV in 2012 and annual incidence of newly-diagnosed HCV during 2003-2012 (index period) were calculated. The age-adjusted prevalence of HCV was 5.19/1,000 population (n = 10,648). The highest prevalence was found among males and in patients aged 35-54 years. Two thirds of HCV-infected patients were immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU). HCV genotype 1 was predominant (67%). A total of 6,150 patients were newly diagnosed with HCV infection during the index period. The age-standardized rate of newly-diagnosed HCV declined from over 50/100,000 (2003) to 15/100,000 (2012). This rate was highest in males from the FSU, particularly for birth cohorts in 1950-70. The study results suggest that the reported incidence of HCV infection in Israel is declining, while prevalence is particularly high among FSU immigrants and genotype 1 is predominant. As the HCV treatment landscape evolves, these estimates can inform future studies and health technology assessments.

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