Prevalence and clinical spectrum of chronic viral hepatitis in a middle-aged Swedish general urban population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Although abundant data are available regarding the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B or C virus (HBV, HCV) among both blood donors and patients with liver diseases, corresponding data for the general population are scarce. Accordingly, this study was designed to investigate the prevalence and clinical spectrum of HBV and HCV in a general Swedish middle-aged urban population. METHODS: Demographic data and blood samples were collected from subjects enrolled in a prospective study of cancer development in the city of Malmo (population 250,000). The participation rate in the preliminary examination was 46.2%. From 12,445 individuals born between 1926 and 1945 and included in the study, a statistically representative subsample of 6103 persons was selected. Blood samples were available from 5533 of these. The mean age of the subjects in the series was 58.5 +/- 5.9 years, and 59% were women. The HBV markers used were anti-HBc and HBsAg. HCV antibodies were detected with a third generation anti-HCV ELISA, followed by immunoblotting (RIBA 3) if the test was positive. Immunoblot-reactive samples were analysed for HCV-RNA by polymerase chain reaction and genotyped. In all patients with signs of chronic HBV or HCV, epidemiological data were evaluated and liver biopsies obtained. RESULTS: Of the series as a whole (n = 5533), 4.2% (n = 211) tested positive for anti-HBc and 0.2% (n = 10) for HBsAg. RIBA 3 analysis showed 0.37% (18/5533) to be anti-HCV-positive, of whom 83% (15/18) were HCV-RNA-positive. Apart from two (both from HBsAg carriers) with normal histology, all liver biopsies manifested various degrees of inflammation and fibrosis. Among anti-HCV-positives, median grade was 6 and median stage 1 (Knodell score). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of both chronic HBV and HCV is low in the Swedish general urban middle-aged population. Nonetheless, the long-term effects on the population and the health care system may be significant.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology


  • Chronic hepatitis, general population, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, prevalence, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-865
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Emergency medicine/Medicine/Surgery (013240200), Clinical Microbiology, Malmö (013011000), Division of Geriatric Medicine (013040040), Internal Medicine Research Unit (013242520), Chronic Inflammatory and Degenerative Diseases Research Unit (013242530)