Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in US states and the District of Columbia, 2013 to 2016

IMPORTANCE: Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, and incidence has increased rapidly in recent years, likely owing to increased injection drug use. Current estimates of prevalence at the state level are needed to guide prevention and care efforts but are not available through existing disease surveillance systems.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of current HCV infection among adults in each US state and the District of Columbia during the years 2013 to 2016.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: This survey study used a statistical model to allocate nationally representative HCV prevalence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) according to the spatial demographics and distributions of HCV mortality and narcotic overdose mortality in all National Vital Statistics System death records from 1999 to 2016. Additional literature review and analyses estimated state-level HCV infections among populations not included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey sampling frame.

EXPOSURES: State, accounting for birth cohort, biological sex, race/ethnicity, federal poverty level, and year.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES: State-level prevalence estimates of current HCV RNA.

RESULTS: In this study, the estimated national prevalence of HCV from 2013 to 2016 was 0.84% (95% CI, 0.75%-0.96%) among adults in the noninstitutionalized US population represented in the NHANES sampling frame, corresponding to 2 035 100 (95% CI, 1 803 600-2 318 000) persons with current infection; accounting for populations not included in NHANES, there were 231 600 additional persons with HCV, adjusting prevalence to 0.93%. Nine states contained 51.9% of all persons living with HCV infection (California [318 900], Texas [202 500], Florida [151 000], New York [116 000], Pennsylvania [93 900], Ohio [89 600], Michigan [69 100], Tennessee [69 100], and North Carolina [66 400]); 5 of these states were in Appalachia. Jurisdiction-level median (range) HCV RNA prevalence was 0.88% (0.45%-2.34%). Of 13 states in the western United States, 10 were above this median. Three of 10 states with the highest HCV prevalence were in Appalachia.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Using extensive national survey and vital statistics data from an 18-year period, this study found higher prevalence of HCV in the West and Appalachian states for 2013 to 2016 compared with other areas. These estimates can guide state prevention and treatment efforts.

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Full citation:
Rosenberg ES, Rosenthal EM, Hall EW, Barker L, Hofmeister MG, Sullivan PS, Dietz P, Mermin J, Ryerson AB (2018).
Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in US states and the District of Columbia, 2013 to 2016
JAMA Network Open, 1 (8), e186371. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.6371. PMCID: PMC6324373.