Hepatitis C: data on hepatitis C

Health Protection Scotland estimates that 50,000 persons (around 1% of Scotland's population) have been infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Approximately, one-third of infected persons in Scotland reside in Greater Glasgow, one-third in Lothian, Grampian and Tayside, and one-third in the other health board areas. Two-thirds of infected persons are male and the majority will be aged less than 50 years.

Of those living with HCV in Scotland, 34,500 are likely to be HCV carriers (i.e. chronically infected with HCV). Approximately 19,000 (55%) of these were estimated to have been diagnosed with hepatitis C by the end of 2013 leaving an estimated 15,500 (45%) undiagnosed.

In 2016, 1,594 persons were reported to be hepatitis C antibody-positive (i.e. new cases) (see Table 1) which is the lowest recorded since 2008.

Table 1: Persons in Scotland reported to be hepatitis C antibody positive; Number and rate/100,000 population by NHS board and year of earliest positive specimen to 31 December 2016

NHS Board

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Ayrshire & Arran

Number

171

148

136

185

142

127

116

Rate per 100,000

46.6

39.6

36.4

49.7

38.3

34.3

31.3

Borders

Number

21

23

27

33

28

19

23

Rate / 100,000

18.6

20.2

23.7

29

24.6

16.7

20.2

Dumfries & Galloway

Number

53

35

39

35

29

29

31

Rate / 100,000

35.8

23.1

25.9

23.3

19.3

19.3

20.7

Fife

Number

48

29

68

101

104

97

67

Rate / 100,000

13.2

7.9

18.6

27.5

28.3

26.4

18.2

Forth Valley

Number

100

126

131

111

102

113

92

Rate / 100,000

34.1

42.3

43.8

37.0

34.0

37.3

30.4

Grampian

Number

167

252

166

169

177

135

145

Rate / 100,000

30.3

44.2

28.9

29.2

30.3

23.0

24.7

Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Number

753

715

549

558

619

525

502

Rate / 100,000

62.5

58.9

45.1

49.0

54.2

45.7

43.7

Highland

Number

45

57

65

82

91

68

60

Rate / 100,000

14.5

17.7

20.3

25.5

28.4

21.2

18.7

Lanarkshire

Number

211

250

202

199

201

178

170

Rate / 100,000

37.5

43.7

35.3

30.5

30.8

27.2

26.0

Lothian

Number

253

312

239

236

312

313

248

Rate / 100,000

30.2

37.3

28.3

27.8

36.4

36.1

28.6

Tayside

Number

228

273

228

224

210

197

126

Rate / 100,000

56.6

66.5

55.4

54.3

50.7

47.5

30.4

Island Boards

Number

3

12

5

7

7

14

14

Scotland

Number

2,053

2,232

1,855

1,940

2,022

1,815

1,594

Rate / 100,000

39.3

42.1

34.9

36.4

37.8

33.8

29.7

 

These are the NHS boards based on the boundaries as at 1 April 2014.

Source

Note: rates per 100,000 are not published for the Island boards.

An article by Hutchinson and colleagues published in the Scottish Medical Journal in 2006 provides a review of the epidemiological data and public health challenges associated with HCV infection in Scotland.

Hepatitis C affects disproportionately the most deprived populations. Chart 1 shows that the 20% most deprived of the Scottish population accounts for practically the same number of cases of hepatitis C than the rest of the population. Infections tend to be concentrated in areas with high levels of injecting drug use and high numbers of ethnic minorities populations linked to countries with high prevalence of hepatitis C.

UK

It is estimated that 214,000 people has chronic hepatitis C in UK in 2016/17. The number of cancer and liver disease deaths associated to hepatitis C was 1,875 in 2016. It was on the rise up to 2014, since when it started to decrease. The number of people treated has greatly increased in the last two years. Both trends, deaths and treatments, probably respond to the introduction of new treatments, which are shorter and more effective.

The incidence of infection among people who injects drugs has remained stable in the last 10 years, and the prevalence of hepatitis C in this group is 25% (2015). Over the last six years the estimated number of undiagnosed cases in people who injects drugs has remained stable, ~50%. This group is used as a proxy to understand the trends in incidence infection and undiagnosed cases for the whole population.

Please note: If you require the most up-to-date data available, please check the data sources directly as new data may have been published since these data pages were last updated. Although we endeavour to ensure that the data pages are kept up-to-date, there may be a time lag between new data being published and the relevant ScotPHO web pages being updated.