Meeting of the European Hepatitis B and C Network

Event
16 Feb 2012 - 18 Feb 2012
Stockholm
ECDC

​The aims of the meeting were to enable sharing of experiences and good practices between member states, review ECDC’s current programme of work and to help determine future priorities for surveillance, prevention and control of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) across Europe.

The 3rd meeting of the European Hepatitis B and C Network was held at the ECDC in Stockholm, Sweden, and gathered a total of 63 participants from 25 EU/EEA countries. The meeting also included representation from several key international organisations. The aims of the meeting were to enable sharing of experiences and good practices between member states, review ECDC’s current programme of work and to help determine future priorities for surveillance, prevention and control of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) across Europe.

Main outcomes

At the meeting the weakness of routine hepatitis B and C surveillance data in providing clear epidemiological information was highlighted and the Network supported the use of other epidemiology sources such as prevalence studies, modelling and data on the economic impact of the epidemic. It was also suggested that ECDC should consider a project related to the nosocomial transmission of hepatitis B and C, either focusing on outbreaks or on those countries where transmission is reported to be high.  Discussions took around the future direction for surveillance activities considering alternative data sources that could supplement routine case based reporting and the concept and feasibility of developing a sero-prevalence survey at EU level. Meeting participants identified measurements of mortality and morbidity as key indicators to establish, alongside work to monitor the continuum of care for HCV. It was agreed that molecular methods could complement routine surveillance data and better describe transmission patterns and there was support for the standardisation of techniques to allow cross countries comparability. There was general agreement that a sero-prevalence survey could be useful to better understand the epidemiology of these infections at the general population level.  One cost effective way identified to implement this was to nest such a study into an existing survey, such as the European Health Examination Survey (EHES).