Epidemiology and Infection

Evaluation of hepatitis C surveillance in Poland in 1998

J.  MAZUREK  a1 c1, Y.  HUTIN  a2, L.-A.  McNUTT  a3 and D. L.  MORSE  a3 a4
a1 National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
a2 World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
a3 School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, New York, USA
a4 New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, USA


The aim was to evaluate hepatitis C surveillance in Poland during 1998. Hepatitis C reports were obtained from epidemiology offices. Public health staff were interviewed to collect information on surveillance operations. To estimate the proportion of acute cases among the total reported, a study was conducted in the Warsaw district to validate case reports. A total of 1661 (97.2%) hepatitis C cases were studied. Hepatitis C surveillance was timely and acceptable to the user, but did not provide a number of information elements required to differentiate acute from chronic cases of infection. Of the 268 case reports available in the Warsaw district, only 15 (5.6%) met the acute hepatitis C case definition. It is concluded that hepatitis C surveillance in Poland cannot provide useful incidence estimates and information regarding risk factors for acute infection. A strict case definition and a modified case form with specific questions for HCV transmission routes should be applied.

(Accepted February 26 2002)

c1 Author for correspondence: National Institute of Hygiene, Department of Epidemiology, Chocimska 24, 00 – 791 Warsaw, Poland.