Ireland has one of highest rates of Hepatitis B in Europe

State saw 9.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2013, a rate passed only by Latvia and UK

 

Ireland has one of the highest rates of hepatitis B in Europe, according to new data released to mark World Hepatitis Day today.

Although the rates of infection by hepatitis B and C are falling in Ireland, both are far more common here than in most of the rest of Europe, according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Ireland recorded 9.2 cases of hepatitis B per 100,000 population in 2013, a rate exceeded only by Latvia and the UK, the data shows. Some 421 cases were reported, down from 649 in 2010.

There were 775 cases of hepatitis C, equivalent to a rate of 16.9 cases per 100,000 people. This compared with an overall EU rate of 9.3.

New cases

Every year, about 50,000 newly diagnosed cases of hepatitis B and C are reported across Europe but millions more remain unaware of their infection, according to the ECDC.

Left untreated, hepatitis can cause irreversible liver damage. A quick blood test can establish whether a person is infected.

Hepatitis A re-emerged as a health threat in Europe in 2013 because of a number of international outbreaks linked to eating frozen or fresh berries.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver which is most commonly caused by a viral infection.