Public Health England releases Hepatitis C in England 2017 report

Public Health England has published its annual report on Hepatitis C in England, providing an overview of progress towards tackling the virus and proposals for future action.

The report reveals the formation of a new National Viral Hepatitis Strategy Group, which will provide strategic direction and advice on the national approach to hepatitis C. The group, which will include representation from The Hepatitis C Trust, will be responsible for helping to drive progress towards elimination of the virus.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 160,000 people in England have hepatitis C
  • There was an estimated 8% reduction in deaths from hepatitis C-related end stage liver disease and cancer in 2015
  • Provisional data shows a 40% increase in the numbers of people receiving treatment in 2015/16 compared to the previous year
  • There has been a steady increase in the number of diagnosed infections over the past two decades, reaching a peak of 11,605 reports in 2015
  • Around 50% of people who inject drugs (PWIDs) surveyed were aware of their hepatitis C antibody positive status
  • Needle and syringe provision has been found to be "suboptimal", with less than one half of those surveyed reporting adequate provision for their needs.

The reduction in deaths from hepatitis C-related end stage liver disease and cancer mark encouring progress in reaching the World Health Organisation (WHO) traget to reduce hepatitis C mortality by 10% by 2020, but further progress in finding the undiagnosed will be needed to meet the target of a 65% reduction by 2030.

Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: "This report reveals some progress in tackling hepatitis C, but also highlights the significant challenges that remain. We now need to urgently find those who remain undiagnosed and engage them in the treatway pathway in order to reach our commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030."

The full report can be read here.