This systematic review aimed at estimating chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and C virus (HCV) prevalence in the European Union (EU) and Economic Area (EEA) countries in the general population, blood donors and pregnant women. We searched PubMed©, Embase© and Cochrane Library databases for reports on HBV and HCV prevalence in the general population and pregnant women in EU/EEA countries published between 2005 and 2015. Council of Europe data were used for HBV and HCV blood donor prevalence. HBV general population estimates were available for 13 countries, ranging from 0·1% to 4·4%. HCV general population estimates were available for 13 countries, ranging from 0·1% to 5·9%. Based on general population and blood donor estimates, the overall HBV prevalence in the EU/EEA is estimated to be 0·9% (95% CI 0·7-1·2), corresponding to almost 4·7 million HBsAg-positive cases; and the overall HCV prevalence to be 1·1% (95% CI 0·9-1·4), equalling 5·6 million anti-HCV-positive cases. We found wide variation in HCV and HBV prevalence across EU/EEA countries for which estimates were available, as well as variability between groups often considered a proxy for the general population. Prevalence estimates are essential to inform policymaking and public health practice. Comparing to other regions globally, HBV and HCV prevalence in the EU/EEA is low.
Keywords: Hepatitis B; hepatitis C; prevalence; systematic review.