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.
Patient organisations are welcome and encouraged to use these resources on social media, websites, newsletters and all other channels.
All information is taken from the UEG Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe, unless otherwise stated.
- 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 2013 was lowest in Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Greece
Data in this section has been taken from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
- Prognosis in hepatitis B depends on the age when the infection is aquired, if the transmission is vertical or not, and associated risk factors such as excessive alcohol consumption
- The disease may be completely asymptomatic or may progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer
- Vaccination programmes have proven successful in reducing infection rates and there has been a steady decrease in acute hepatitis B virus infections
Information in this section has been taken from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and updated by UEG experts.
- About 40% of people with hepatitis C have a lifelong chronic infection
- The virus persists in more than 50% of people infected(1). Chronic infections can be treated and are curable in more than 95% if cases(2), with the new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs
- 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
- 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
Unless otherwise referenced, data in this section has been taken from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
1. Bulteel, Naomi, et al. "Factors associated with spontaneous clearance of chronic hepatitis C virus infection." Journal of hepatology (2016).
2. Ahmed, Hussien, et al. "Safety and efficacy of sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir with and without ribavirin for chronic HCV genotype-1 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Antiviral therapy (2016).
- All patients with hepatitis C have to be referred to a specialist for treatment
- Hepatitis C is treated by a combination of drugs for a specific period of time
- Overall, treatment can successfully clear the virus in more than 95% of cases
Information in this section is provided by UEG experts.
Get key data about hepatitis with supporting commentary from Patrizia Burra, UEG liver specialist and Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Padova. Developed in partnership with the European Liver Patients Association.
"Make the elimination of viral hepatitis our next greatest achievement" - World Hepatitis Alliance.
World Hepatitis Alliance - 12 Asks
The World Hepatitis Alliance is asking governments and patient groups to sign up to the 12 asks and have produced a document detailing the '12 Asks' which patient groups can use as an advocacy document.
To download the document, please click here.
European Patient Organisations
European Liver Patients' Association (ELPA)
ELPA’s vision is that all liver patients are diagnosed in time, are treated with respect, and have equal access to the best standard of medical care - regardless of origin, lifestyle, and type of liver disease. Their ultimate goal is a world without liver diseases.
European Coalition of Positive People
The European Coalition of Positive People is a self-help organisation of, by and for people living with HIV and AIDS, (HIV1 and HIV2), Hepatitis and Tuberculosis. We seek to establish a democratic and accountable patient voice at a European level.
National Patient Organisations
British Liver Trust (UK)
SOS Hépatites (Portugal)
Catalan Association of Hepatitis Patients (ASSCAT) (Spain)
National Federation of Liver Patients and Transplanted (Spain)
Fédération SOS hépatites (France)
Association of Liver Patients' Care (ALPC) (Egypt)
Hetz- Israeli Association For The Health Of the Liver (Israel)
Hepatitis Aid (Austria)
Flemish Contact point for Hepatitis (Belgium)
The Chronic Viral Hepatitis Patients Association, "B18“ (Bosnia – Herzegovina)
National Association for Fighting Hepatitis HepActive (Bulgaria)
Croatian Association of Treated and Ill with Hepatitis (Croatian)
The Finnish Kidney and Liver Association (Finland)
German Liver Aid (German)
Deutsches Hepatitis C (German)
Hellenic Liver Patient Association “Prometheus” (Greece)
Hungarian Association of Chronic Hepatitis Patients (Hungary)
Associazione EPAC Onlus (Italy)
Infectious Diseases Patients Association LIDPA (Lithuania)
Association for health education, prevention and bether treatment – HEPTA (Macedonia)
Hepar Centar – Bitola (Macedonia)
Dutch Liver Patient Association (Netherlands)
Star of Hope Foundation (Poland)
Association for helping patients with chronic viral hepatitis – CHRONOS (Serbia)
HEP HELP KLUB (Slovakia)
Slovenian Association for Hepatitis PROMETHEUS (Slovenia)
Riksföreningen Hepatit C (RHC) (Sweden)
Stop Hepatitis (Ukraine)
Information in this section has been checked and where necessary updated by UEG hepatitis expert Helena Cortez-Pinto. Last updated September 2016.