Hepatitis is a viral infection most commonly contracted through unprotected sex, blood transmission, or perinatal transmission. Hepatitis B and C are the most common forms of the virus in Europe. 

Data on the incidence rates of hepatitis is generally lacking across Europe, but the prognosis for the infection is generally positive, as research into treatments continues to improve.  

View further information and gain expert opinion on hepatitis below. All information is taken from the UEG Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe, unless otherwise stated. 

Hepatitis B & C Virus Infections
Paediatric Hepatitis Across Europe
  • There were 19,101 cases of hepatitis B virus infection across 28 EU states in 2013, resulting in an incidence rate of 4.4 per 100,000 population 
  • The most affected age group for both acute and chronic hepatitis B virus infection is between 25-34 years old
  • Incidence of hepatitis B virus infection in 2013 was highest in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland and Netherlands
  • Incidence of hepatitis B virus infection in 203 was lowest in Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Greece

    Data in this section has been taken from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
  • Vaccination programmes have proven successful in reducing infection rates and there has been a steady decrease in acute hepatitis B virus infections
  • Tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • High temperature of 38C or above
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Unprotected sex
  • Exposure to infectious bodily fluids
  • Perinatal transmission- almost 90% of children born to mothers with hepatitis B will also have the infection
  • Blood transfusions
  • Infected tattoo and acupuncture equipment
  • Sharing razors and toothbrushes
  • Dialysis procedures
  • About 40% of people with hepatitis C have a lifelong chronic infection
  • The virus persists for about 85% of people infected, although it can be treated and is curable in about 50% to 80% of cases
  • In Western Europe, hepatitis C has been reported to lead to 70% of all cases of chronic hepatitis, 40% of all cases of liver cirrhosis, and 60% of all cases of hepatocellular cancer
  • Figures on hepatitis C notifications from 2006 to 2011 show the highest rates confined mainly to Scandinavia and other parts of Northern or Eastern Europe (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
  • However, prevalence is highest in parts of Eastern and Southern Europe, including Italy, Romania, Spain and Poland, with prevalence data unavailable for most European countries (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
  • People with severe or longer lasting disease should be seen and assessed by a liver specialist.
  • Hepatitis C is treated by a combination of drugs for a specific period of time, although medical experts are still developing the best treatment and regimes may vary.
  • Overall, treatment can successfully clear the virus in more than half the patients.
  • People who develop serious liver disease may need a transplant.

    Data in this section has been taken from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • Hepatitis C virus infection can often be asymptomatic
  • Diagnoses are often made through routine screening or through further investigations following abnormal liver function test results
  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Blood transfusions
  • Unprotected sex
  • Contaminated skin piercing
  • Passed from mother to baby

Speak to one of our experts to learn more about hepatitis. Please email media@ueg.eu for further information (full contact details can be found at the bottom of the page).


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