(HealthDay News) – Hepatitis C virus (HCV) superseded HIV as a cause of death by 2007; and birth cohort screening is cost-effective for HCV, according to two studies published in the Feb. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Kathleen N. Ly, MPH, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated mortality in the United States from hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV, in comparison with HIV. The researchers found that, from 1999–2007, there was a significant increase in the number of annual recorded deaths from HCV, to 15,106, and a decrease in HIV deaths, to 12,734. Factors that increased the likelihood of HCV-related deaths included chronic liver disease, HBV or HIV co-infection, alcohol-related conditions, and minority status. Factors linked to HBV-related deaths included chronic liver disease, HCV or HIV co-infection, alcohol-related conditions, and Asian or Pacific Islander descent. The majority of HBV and HCV deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals.
David B. Rein, PhD, from the University of Chicago, and colleagues estimated the cost-effectiveness of birth-cohort screening of adults born from 1945–1965 for HCV. They found that birth-cohort screening identified 808,580 additional cases of chronic HCV, compared with the status quo, with a screening cost of $2,874 per case identified. Assuming screening was followed by treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, for treated patients, screening increased quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) by 348,800, and costs by $5.5 billion, for an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $15,700 per additional QALY.
“Birth-cohort screening for HCV in primary care settings was cost-effective,” Rein and colleagues write.