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Open Access Research article

Hepatitis C prevalence in Denmark -an estimate based on multiple national registers

Peer Brehm Christensen1*, Gordon Hay2, Peter Jepsen3, Lars Haukali Omland4, Søren Andreas Just5, Henrik Bygum Krarup6, Nina Weis7, Niels Obel4 and Susan Cowan8

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Odense University Hospital, Building 1, 2 floor, Penthouse block 6, Sdr Boulevard, Odense C, 29 5000, Denmark

2 School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK

3 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

4 Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

5 Department of Medicine, Svendborg Hospital, Svendborg, Denmark

6 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

7 Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark

8 Department of Epidemiology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:178  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-178

Published: 6 August 2012



A national survey for chronic hepatitis C has not been performed in Denmark and the prevalence is unknown. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of chronic hepatitis C from public registers and the proportion of these patients who received specialized healthcare.


Patients with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C were identified from four national registers: a laboratory register, the Hospital Discharge Register, a clinical database of chronic viral hepatitis and the Register of Communicable Diseases. The total population diagnosed with hepatitis C was estimated by capture-recapture analysis. The population with undiagnosed hepatitis C was derived from the national register of drug users by comparing diagnosed and tested persons.


A total of 6,935 patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C were identified in the four registers and the estimated population diagnosed with the disease was 9,166 persons (95% C.I. interval 8,973 – 9,877), corresponding to 0.21% (95% CI 0.21%-0.23%) of the Danish population over 15years of age. The prevalence was highest among persons 40–49years old (0.39%) and males (0.28%). It was estimated that 40% of the diagnosed patients lived in the capital region, and 33.5% had attended specialised healthcare. It was estimated that 46% of hepatitis C patients had not been diagnosed and the total population with chronic hepatitis C in Denmark was 16,888 (95% C.I. 16,474-18,287), corresponding to 0.38% (95% CI 0.37-0.42) of the population over 15years of age.


The estimated prevalence of chronic hepatitis C in Denmark was 0.38%. Less than half of the patients with chronic hepatitis C in Denmark have been identified and among these patients, one in three has attended specialised care.