People born between 1965-1985 should be offered a Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) test in Ireland, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has recommended.
HIQA told the Minister for Health that the implementation of a testing programme for those in this age cohort would help Ireland reach its goal of eliminating HCV.
In Ireland, the prevalence of HCV is highest in those born between 1965 and 1985, with an estimated 1 of every 100 in this age cohort having this chronic condition.
HIQA has concluded that the implementation of this mass testing would be good value for money, but that there would be significant costs involved.
Dr Máirín Ryan, Hiqa’s Deputy CEO and Director of Health Technology Assessment said: “Chronic HCV infection is frequently called the ‘silent disease’, as many people do not have symptoms and don’t realise that they are infected. However, the damage it does is not silent.”
“If left untreated, chronic HCV infection can cause severe damage to the liver and other organs. For example, 128 liver transplants completed in Ireland between 2005 and 2018 were due to HCV.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) set a target of making Hepatitis C Virus a rare disease before the year 2030.