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Hepatitis C in the Russian Federation: challenges and future directions

Authors Mukomolov† SL, Trifonova G, Levakova I, Bolsun D, Krivanogova E

Received 15 September 2014

Accepted for publication 20 February 2016

Published 5 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 51—60


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Gerry Lake-Bakaar

Sergey Mukomolov, Galina Trifonova, Irina Levakova, Daria Bolsun, Eugenia Krivanogova

Department of Epidemiology, Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute, Saint Petersburg, the Russian Federation

Professor Sergey Mukomolov passed away on June 1, 2015

Abstract: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most prevalent health problems in the world. Official registration of HCV infections in the Russian Federation started in 1994. Two clinical forms of infection – acute and chronic hepatitis C – are registered separately. Moreover, the HCV national surveillance system also includes reports from laboratories on results from testing ~20 population risk groups for antibodies to HCV; approximately 15–16 million tests are performed annually. Modern epidemiological features of HCV infection in the Russian Federation are characterized by low incidence of the acute form of infection (acute HCV; one to two per 100,000) and a dramatic increase in chronic HCV (CHCV) cases. In 2013, the average nationwide rate of newly detected CHCV cases was 39.3/100,000. In the same year, the prevalence of CHCV demonstrating an accumulation of chronically infected patients in the country was much higher – 335.8/100,000. Four risk groups were identified as greatly affected by HCV, which were demonstrated by a high prevalence of antibodies to HCV: newborns from chronically infected women, persons from correctional facilities, patients with chronic liver diseases, and clients from clinics for sexually transmitted disease patients and drug users. It was found that several HCV genotypes circulated in different regions of the country; HCV1b had a prevalence of 55%–80% in almost every part of the country. However, in St Petersburg during the final decade of the last century and from 2001–2005, HCV3a subtype expanded circulation among young people due to increased intravenous drug addiction. Intravenous drug users were the major cause of a higher registration of double infection, with two different virus subtypes, and the appearance in Russia of new recombinant virus RF_2k/1b. It can be concluded that CHCV infection should be a focus of the health care system in Russia because serious epidemics of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma will be seen in the near future that will require urgent preventive and therapeutic measures.

Keywords: hepatitis C, epidemiology, the Russian Federation, chronic hepatitis C

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