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The growing contribution of hepatitis C virus infection to liver-related mortality in Scotland

McDonald, S.A. and Hutchinson, S.J. and Bird, S.M. and Robertson, C. and Mills, P.R. and Graham, L. and Dillon, J.F. and Goldberg, D.J. (2010) The growing contribution of hepatitis C virus infection to liver-related mortality in Scotland. Eurosurveillance, 15 (18). ISSN 1560-7917

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The large number of individuals in Scotland who became infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the 1970s and 1980s leads us to expect liver-related morbidity and mortality to increase in the coming years. We investigated the contribution of HCV to liverrelated mortality in the period January 1991 to June 2006. The study population consisted of 26,861 individuals whose death record mentioned a liver-related cause (underlying or contributing). Record-linkage to the national HCV Diagnosis database supplied HCVdiagnosed status for the study population. The proportion diagnosed with HCV among people dying from a liver-related cause rose from 2.8% (1995-1997) to 4.4% (2004-June 2006); the largest increase occurred in those aged 35-44 years at death (7% to 17%). Among all deaths from a liver-related cause, an HCV-positive diagnosis was more likely in those who died in 2001 or later than those who died in 1995-1997 (2001-2003: odds ratio=1.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.7; 2004-June 2006: 1.6, 1.3-2.0), and in those who died at under 55 compared with at least 55 years of age. HCV infection represents a significant, growing, public health burden in Scotland in terms of early deaths from liver disease.