[Incidence of hepatitis C in the Silesian voivodeship in the years 1997-2002]

Małgorzata Kowalska, Jan E Zejda
Przegla̧d Epidemiologiczny 2004, 58 (3): 435-44
The aim of the study was to examine the incidence of viral hepatitis type C (HCV) in the general population of Silesian voivodeship (Poland), in the years 1997-2002. Since 1997 HCV is a notifiable disease in Poland, reported by diagnosing physicians to local sanitary-epidemiological centers. Analysis included the total of 875 records collected in 1997-2002 by all sanitary-epidemiological centers in the Voivodeship. In that period the voivodeship annual incidence varied between 2.2/100000 and 2.9/100000. Most of the incidence cases were urban dwellers (82.5%), compared to rural dwellers (17.5%), and the age-structure was dominated by people above 65 years (13.%) as well as young persons aged 20-24 years (9.8%). The results revealed a large county-to-county variation in incidence. This finding could be hardly explained on the ground of available data--there are no major between-county differences in terms of health care quality, provision and availability of health care services, demographic or socio-economic factors in Silesian voivodeship. The likely explanation points to unequal or even questionable functioning of the HCV reporting scheme that--on a voivodeship level--could result in an underestimation of incidence of the disease. This hampers a possibility of specific analyses based on the existing, secondary data and justifies a need for improvement of the register. The necessary action should involve subject-oriented training of all participants of the reporting system, as well as health professionals engaged in diagnosing and treatment of infectious diseases.

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