Publications & Reports

The epidemiology of hepatitis C in Australia: notifications, treatment uptake and liver transplantations, 1997-2006.

Gidding HF, Topp L, Middleton M, Robinson K, Hellard M, McCaughan G, Maher L, Kaldor JM, Dore GJ, Law MG
National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia. [email protected]


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Regular monitoring of hepatitis C (HCV)-related surveillance data is essential to inform and evaluate strategies to reduce the expanding HCV burden. The aim of this study was to examine trends in the epidemiology and treatment of HCV in Australia. METHODS: We reviewed data about HCV notifications, treatment of HCV infection through the Highly Specialised Drugs (s100) Program, and liver transplants (Australia and New Zealand Liver Transplant Registry) for the period 1997-2006. RESULTS: HCV case notification rates declined by almost 50% between 1999 and 2006, with the greatest reductions between 2001 and 2002 and amongst young adults. For newly acquired HCV cases, 89% were Australian-born and 90% reported injecting drug use as a risk factor for infection. Overall, 30% of liver transplant recipients had HCV-related cirrhosis, but the number and proportion of HCV diagnoses increased between 1997 and 2006. HCV treatment also increased over the review period. However, only 1.4% of the 202,400 people estimated to be living with chronic HCV at the end of 2006 received treatment that year. CONCLUSION: The decline in HCV notifications is consistent with a decline in HCV incidence in Australia. However, the burden of advanced HCV disease continues to expand. To reduce this burden, treatment uptake needs to increase. Consistent and sensitive surveillance mechanisms are required to detect newly acquired cases together with an expansion of surveillance for chronic HCV infections.


  • Journal: Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Published: 01/10/2009
  • Volume: 24
  • Issue: 10
  • Pagination: 1648-1654