The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Epidemiology receives laboratory results of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as required by state law, Sections 32.1-36 and 32.1-37 of the Code of Virginia and 12 VAC 5-90-80 and 12 VAC 5-90-90 of the Board of Health Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control1.
- Hepatitis: means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is often caused by a virus. The most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is a blood-borne virus8.
- All Adults: this classification refers to persons aged 18 years and older.
- 18-30 year olds: The reason for highlighting this age group is explained in the Virginia Hepatitis C Epidemiologic Profile. The section entitled, Risk Factors and Special Populations states, “Virginia was one of four states highlighted in a 2015 CDC report that illustrated the emerging triad of opioid abuse, injection drug use, and hepatitis C infection among persons aged 30 years or younger7.”
- The CDC cites the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Position Statement 15-ID-03, to define the acute and chronic HCV case definitions. Case definitions are used for surveillance purposes to classify and count cases consistently. Please reference the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS) Surveillance Case Definitions for full descriptions2, 3.
- Annually, the CDC posts national data in the Viral Hepatitis Annual Surveillance Reports4.
- VDH published the first Hepatitis C Epidemiologic Profile in 2016. Updated sections and the original publication is located on the VDH Division of Disease Prevention webpage5.
- Hepatitis C, if untreated, can result in chronic liver disease or hepatocellular cancer, which are difficult to treat and often lead to recurrent hospitalizations or liver transplantation6.
- The primary risk factor for newly acquired hepatitis C infection is injection drug use. Injection drug use and opioid drug use has been escalating in Virginia in recent years, leading to a syndemic of opioid abuse and HCV infection7.
- Hepatitis C rates are presented as a rate per 100,000 persons.
- Hepatitis C case counts represented on this dashboard are not suppressed.
Suppression is applied to overdose visit counts of 1 to 4 and rates with numerators of 1 to 4 to maintain confidentiality and accurate rate calculations. Suppressed statistics are indicated with an asterisk (*).