ECDC publishes hepatitis B and C reports on testing and sustainable development goals in the EU/EEA

06 April 2021

Article: 55/14 03

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published a technical report, presenting a snapshot of hepatitis B and C testing in the EU/EEA. It discusses progress made towards the European action plan 2020 testing target, focussing on key populations and settings for testing, barriers to testing, and testing policies.

The ECDC report that many people living with chronic hepatitis B and C infections in the EU/EEA are not aware of their infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) European Region hepatitis action plan testing target for 2020 is for 50% of people living with chronic hepatitis B and C to be diagnosed and aware of their condition. Reported data from 2017 show that the region is far from meeting this target, with around one-fifth of people with hepatitis B and one-quarter of people with hepatitis C diagnosed.

The ECDC has also published a report monitoring progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 target to combat viral hepatitis. It provides data on hepatitis B and C prevention, incidence, diagnosis, treatment, cure or viral suppression, and mortality in EU/EEA countries, with data collected in 2019. In terms of elimination, the available data indicates that most countries are not on track to meet the WHO targets for reduction in hepatitis B and C incidence and attributable mortality by 2030. For prevention, available data show good progress on hepatitis B childhood vaccination programme coverage in most countries, but sub-optimal coverage of harm reduction measures for people who inject drugs to prevent hepatitis C in many reporting countries.

For almost all indicators, a large number of countries did not report data. A lack of robust, reliable data presents a challenge to making progress on the viral hepatitis epidemic. The ECDC conclude that improved monitoring systems and reporting are needed to better understand and take action on hepatitis B and C in the European region.

Source: ECDC, 26 March 2021 & ECDC, 29 March 2021