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PrevER study

Prevalence of Hepatitis C in the general population of Belgium: a multicenter seroprevalence study on the emergency departments


Principle Investigator: prof. dr. Geert Robaeys, Researcher: Rob Bielen


The figures on which we base the epidemiological and health economic research on HCV in Belgium are no longer up to date. Moreover, in the United States (US) it is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to screen all patients born between 1945 to 1965 at least once for HCV, in addition to the existing screening of at-risk populations. In Europe and Belgium, it is not clear whether this is also necessary.

The aim of this study is therefore to determine in a short period the prevalence of HCV in a population at the  emergency department Belgium. In the US and Europe several studies showed that the prevalence of HCV is higher at emergency departments in urbanized areas. Therefore, it is interesting to carry out this study, both at a hospital in a large city (Gent) as well as in a hospital with a large population from rural areas (Genk - East Limburg).

Since HCV is curable, but current therapies are very expensive, there is high demand for new data about the prevalence and incidence of HCV in order to better estimate the annual cost for the treatment.

At a later stage, the samples stored at UbiLim will be used to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B and HIV in this population, but also other seroprevalence studies could be conducted, as well as research on the immunology of HCV.