Hepatitis C virus epidemiology and prevention in Polish and Swiss population – similar and contrasting experiences
More details
Hide details
Labormedizinisches Zentrum Dr. Risch, Liebefeld, Switzerland
National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Epidemiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
Corresponding author
Kazimierz Madaliński   

National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2016;23(3):425-431
The aim of the study was to review available data on HCV in Poland and Switzerland, in order to compare the two European countries with respect to epidemiological situation and efficiency of the response systems.

Material and Methods:
A search of registries, published and grey literature was performed to assemble data on prevalence, rate of detection of new cases, identified risk factors for transmission, mortality due to HCV, prevalence of HCC and the consequent liver transplantations, as well as data on treatment in Poland and Switzerland.

Overall, the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies was similar, not exceeding 1%. However, the major transmission routes of HCV infections were different: medical procedures in Poland and drug injections in Switzerland. By combining the available information it was also possible to demonstrate important differences in efficiency of the response systems. There was approximately 1 new diagnosis per 100 estimated undiagnosed cases in the population in Poland per year, compared to 6 in Switzerland, and the treatment rate per 100 estimated active infections was 2 and 4, respectively.

Scaling up of the diagnosis and treatment is necessary in both countries; however, the means to achieve this might differ, taking into account the higher concentration of the infections in risk groups in Switzerland than in Poland.

Gower E, Estes C, Blach S, Razavi-Shearer K, Razavi H. Global epidemiology and genotype distribution of the hepatitis C virus infection. J Hepatol. 2014; 61: 45–57 [PMID: 25086286 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2014.07.027].
Bruggmann P, Berg T, Øvrehus AL, Moreno C, Brandão Mello CE, Roudot-Thoraval F, et al. Historical epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in selected countries. J Viral Hepat. 2014; 21 Suppl 1: 5–33 [PMID: 24713004 DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12247].
Cornberg M, Razavi HA, Alberti A, Bernasconi E, Buti M, Cooper C, et al. A systematic review of hepatitis C virus epidemiology in Europe, Canada and Israel. Liver Int 2011; 31 Suppl 2: 30–60 [PMID: 21651702 DOI: 10.1111/j.1478–3231.2011.02539.x].
Hatia RI, Dimitrova Z, Skums P, Teo EY, Teo CG. Nosocomial hepatitis C virus transmission from tampering with injectable anesthetic opioids. Hepatology 2015 Mar 22. [PMID: 25808284 DOI: 10.1002/hep.27800].
Alter MJ. HCV routes of transmission: what goes around comes around. Semin Liver Dis. 2011; 31: 340–346 [PMID: 22189974 DOI: 10.1055/s-0031–1297923].
Rondy M, Wiessing L, Hutchinson SJ, Matheï C, Mathis F, Mravcik V, et al. Hepatitis C prevalence in injecting drug users in Europe, 1990–2007: impact of study recruitment setting. Epidemiol Infect. 2013; 141: 563–572 [PMID: 22595549 DOI: 10.1017/S0950268812000921].
Palmateer N, Hutchinson S, McAllister G, Munro A, Cameron S, Goldberg D, Taylor A. Risk of transmission associated with sharing drug injecting paraphernalia: analysis of recent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection using cross-sectional survey data. J Viral Hepat. 2014; 21: 25–32 [PMID: 24329854 DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12117].
Sharma S, Carballo M, Feld JJ, Janssen HL. Immigration and Viral Hepatitis. J Hepatol. 2015; In press [PMID: 25962882 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.04.026].
Burchell AN, Gardner SL, Mazzulli T, Manno M, Raboud J, Allen VG, et al. Hepatitis C virus seroconversion among HIV-positive men who have sex with men with no history of injection drug use: results from a clinical HIV cohort. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2015; 26: 17–22 [PMID: 25798149].
Deuffic-Burban S, Deltenre P, Buti M, Stroffolini T, Parkes J, Mühlberger N et al. Predicted effects of treatment for HCV infection vary among European countries. Gastroenterology 2012; 143: 974–985 [PMID: 22863764 DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.05.054].
Wedemeyer H, Duberg AS, Buti M, Rosenberg WM, Frankova S, Esmat G, et al. Strategies to manage hepatitis C virus (HCV) disease burden. J Viral Hepat. 2014; 21 Suppl 1: 60–89. [PMID: 24713006 DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12249].
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Hepatitis B and C surveillance in Europe. 2012. Stockholm: ECDC; 2014.
Jakimiak B, Röhm-Rodowald E, Staniszewska M. [Sterilization in Polish hospitals]. [Article in Polish] OPM Ogolnopolski Przeglad Medyczny 2006; 11: 32–6.
Godzik P, Kołakowska A, Madaliński K, Stepień M, Zieliński A, Góralewska A, et al. [Prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies among adults in Poland-results of cross-sectional study in general population]. [Article in Polish] Przegl Epidemiol. 2012; 66: 575–580 [PMID: 23484383].
Prasad LR, Masserey Spicher V, Kammerlander R, Zwahlen M. Hepatitis C in a sample of pregnant women in Switzerland: seroprevalence and socio-demographic factors. Swiss Med Wkly 2007; 137: 27–32 [PMID: 17299665].
Flisiak R, Halota W, Horban A, Juszczyk J, Pawlowska M, Simon K. Prevalence and risk factors of HCV infection in Poland. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011; 23:1213–1217 [PMID: 22002000 DOI: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32834d173c].
Prasad L, Spicher VM, Zwahlen M, Rickenbach M, Helbling B, Negro F; Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study Group. Cohort Profile: the Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study (SCCS). Int J Epidemiol. 2007; 36: 731–737 [PMID: 17693458].
Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care of the Council of Europe. Trends and Observations on the Collection, Testing and Use of Blood and Blood Components in Europe (2001–2008). Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, 2014.
Parda N, Henszel L, Stepien M. Hepatitis C in Poland in 2012. Przegl Epidemiol. 2014; 68: 265–269 [PMID: 25135512].
Datendetails Hepatitis C. Meldepflichtige Infektionskrankheiten Schweiz und Fürstentum Liechtenstein [Article in German], cited 2015-06-09; available from: URL:
[Information bulletin Poltransplant 2015;1] [Article in Polish] cited 2015–06–09. Available from: URL:
Monitoring Transplantationsgesetz. Bundesamt für Gesundheit, Sektion Transplantation und Fortpflanzungsmedizi. Zusammenfassende Ergebnisse des Monitorings 2004–2013; 8. Dezember 2014, [Article in German], cited 2015–06–09. Available from: URL:
Krawczyk M, Grat M, Barski K, Ligocka J, Antczak A, Kornasiewicz O, et al. 1000 liver transplantations at the Department of General, Transplant and Liver Surgery, Medical University of Warsaw-analysis of indications and results. Pol Przegl Chir. 2012; 84: 304–312 [PMID: 22842743 DOI: 10.2478/v10035-012-0051-y].
World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. European Detailed Mortality Database, cited 2015-06-10. Available from: URL:
Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Cited 2015-06-09. Available from:, accessed on 19/05/2015.
Grat M, Kornasiewicz O, Lewandowski Z, Skalski M, Zieniewicz K, Paczek L, Krawczyk M. The impact of surgical technique on the results of liver transplantation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Ann Transplant. 2013; 18: 448–59 [PMID: 24008493 DOI: 10.12659/AOT.884005].
Kuske L, Mensen A, Müllhaupt B, Negro F, Semela D, Moradpour D et al. Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study. Characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis C who develop hepatocellular carcinoma. Swiss Med Wkly 2012; 142: w13651 [PMID: 22869395 DOI: 10.4414/smw.2012.13651].
The Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study (SCCS), cited 2015-06-09. Available from URL:
Panasiuk A, Flisiak R, Mozer-Lisewska I, Adamek A, Tyczyno M et al. Distribution of HCV genotypes in Poland. Przegl Epidemiol. 2013; 67: 11–16, 99–103 [PMID: 23745369].
Wiessing L, Ferri M, Grady B, Kantzanou M, Sperle I, Cullen KJ, et al. EMCDDA DRID group. Hepatitis C virus infection epidemiology among people who inject drugs in Europe: a systematic review of data for scaling up treatment and prevention. PLoS One 2014; 9: e103345 [PMID: 25068274 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103345].
Rosinska M, Sieroslawski J, Wiessing L. High regional variability of HIV, HCV and injecting risks among people who inject drugs in Poland: comparing a cross-sectional bio-behavioural study with case-based surveillance. BMC Infect Dis. 2015; 15: 83 [PMID: 25879904 DOI: 10.1186/s12879–015–0828–9].
Dubois-Arber F, Balthasar H, Huissoud T, Zobel F, Arnaud S, Samitca S et al. Trends in drug consumption and risk of transmission of HIV and hepatitis C virus among injecting drug users in Switzerland, 1993–2006. Euro Surveill. 2008; 13: 1–6 pii: 18881 [PMID: 18761964].
Rutkowski B, Lichodziejewska-Niemierko M, Grenda R, Czekalski S, Durlik M, Bautembach S. [Report on the renal replacement therapy in Poland – 2010] [Article in Polish]. Polish renal registry of the Polish Society of Nephrology, Gdansk, 2013.
Ambuhl PM, Binswanger U, Renner EL. [Epidemiology of chronic hepatitis B and C among dialysis patients in Switzerland] [Article in German]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 2000; 130: 341–348 [PMID: 10763211].
Windyga J, Grabarczyk P, Stefanska E, Buczma A, Szczepanik AB, Klukowska A et al. [Prevalence of HCV, HBV and HIV infections among severe Polish haemophiliacs] [Article in Polish]. Przegl Epidemiol. 2008; 62: 415–423 [PMID: 18807489].
Brand B, von der Weid N. Haemophilia registry of the medical committee of the swiss haemophilia society. Hamostaseologie. 2009; 29 Suppl 1: 16–18 [PMID: 19763362].
Dubois-Arber F, Jeannin A, Lociciro S, Balthasar H. Risk reduction practices in men who have sex with men in Switzerland: serosorting, strategic positioning, and withdrawal before ejaculation. Arch Sex Behav. 2012; 41: 1263–1272 [PMID: 22083656 DOI: 10.1007/s10508-011-9868-4].
Russmann S, Dowlatshahi EA, Printzen G, Habicht S, Reichen J, Zimmermann H. Prevalence and associated factors of viral hepatitis and transferrin elevations in 5036 patients admitted to the emergency room of a Swiss university hospital: cross-sectional study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2007; 7: 5 [PMID: 17280611].
Stępień M, Rosińska M. Hepatitis C oubreaks in Poland in 2003–2013. Medical procedures as a dominant route of HCV transmission. Przegl Epidemiol. 2015; 69:465–472 [PMID: 26519841].
Hartleb M, Gutkowski K, Zejda JE, Chudek J, Wiecek A. Serological prevalence of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection in the elderly population: Polish nationwide survey-PolSenior. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012; 24: 1288–1295 [PMID: 22864260].
Wandeler G, Dufour JF, Bruggmann P, Rauch A. Hepatitis C: a changing epidemic. Swiss Med Wkly. 2015; 145: w14093 [PMID: 25658972 DOI: 10.4414/smw.2015.14093].
Lettmeier B, Mühlberger N, Schwarzer R, Sroczynski G, Wright D, Zeuzem S, Siebert U. Market uptake of new antiviral drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C. J Hepatol. 2008; 49: 528–536 [PMID: 18682313 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2008.04.021].
Chlabicz S, Grzeszczuk A, Prokopowicz D. Medical procedures and the risk of iatrogenic hepatitis C infection: case-controlled study in north-eastern Poland. J Hosp Infect. 2004; 58: 204–209 [PMID: 15501335].
Szaflik J, Belzecka-Majszyk A. [Patients with HBV, HCV and HIV antigens--medical management, surgical procedures, equipment sterilization principles] [Article in Polish]. Klin Oczna 2003; 105: 448–452.
Mazurek J, Hutin Y, McNutt LA, Morse DL. Evaluation of hepatitis C surveillance in Poland in 1998. Epidemiol Infect. 2002; 129: 119–125 [PMID: 12211578].
Alipour A, Rezaianzadeh A, Hasanzadeh J, Rajaeefard A, Davarpanah MA. Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus Between HIV Infected Subjects and Their Main Heterosexual Partners. Hepat Mon. 2013; 13: e13593 [PMID: 24348647 DOI: 10.5812/hepatmon.13593].
Zuure FR, Urbanus AT, Langendam MW, Helsper CW, van den Berg CH, Davidovich U, Prins M. Outcomes of hepatitis C screening programs targeted at risk groups hidden in the general population: a systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2014; 14: 66 [PMID: 24450797 DOI:10.1186/1471–2458–14–66].
[Advanced remuneration of new medicines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C] Article in German [Internet]. 2015–09–02 [cited 2015–11–05] Available from:
[Therapeuthic Programmes/Non-oncology diseases/Treatment of chronic hepatitis C] Article in Polish [Internet]. 2015-07-01 [cited 2015-11-05] Available from:
Markov PV, van de Laar TJ, Thomas XV, Aronson SJ, Weegink CJ, van den Berk GE et al. Colonial history and contemporary transmission shape the genetic diversity of hepatitis C virus genotype 2 in Amsterdam. J Virol. 2012; 86: 7677–7687 [PMID: 22573865 DOI: 10.1128/JVI.06910–11].
Esteban JI, Sauleda S, Quer J. The changing epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in Europe. J Hepatol. 2008; 48: 148–162 [PMID: 18022726].
Razavi H, Waked I, Sarrazin C, Myers RP, Idilman R, Calinas F, et al. The present and future disease burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with today’s treatment paradigm. J Viral Hepat. 2014; 21 Suppl 1:34–59. [PMID: 24713005 DOI: doi: 10.1111/jvh.12248].
Müllhaupt B, Bruggmann P, Bihl F, Blach S, Lavanchy D, Razavi H et al. Modeling the health and economic burden of hepatitis C virus in Switzerland. PLoS One 2015; 10:e0125214. [PMID: 26107467 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125214].
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top