Introduction: Hepatitis C is a public health problem of global dimensions, affecting approximately 200 million people worldwide. The main objective of this study was to estimate the incidence rate of hepatitis C in Brazil during the period between 2001 and 2012.
Methods: An epidemiological, temporal, and descriptive study was performed using data from the Information System for Reportable Diseases.
Results: Between 2001 and 2012, a total of 151,056 hepatitis C cases were recorded, accounting for 30.3% of all hepatitis notifications in Brazil. The average gross coefficient for the analysis period was 6.7 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The regions with the highest rates were the Southeast region (8.7 new cases/100,000 inhabitants) and the South (13.9 new cases/100,000 inhabitants). There was a predominance of men with respect to the incidence rate (8.0 new cases/100,000 inhabitants) compared to women (5.5 new cases/100,000 inhabitants). Injection drug use was the most common source of infection, and members of the white race, residents of urban areas, and those aged 60 to 64 years had the highest incidences.
Conclusions: Over the last 10 years, the incidence of hepatitis C in Brazil has increased, mainly in the South and Southeast. The adoption of fast, accurate diagnostic methods, together with epidemiological awareness, can facilitate early intervention measures for adequate control of the disease.