Rapid blood sample screening test for hepatitis c virus: Results of nine months of activities
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University of Turin 1) Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Turin, Italy 2) Local Health Authority ASL TO3, Piedmont, Italy Italy
Local Health Authority ASL TO3, Piedmont, Italy Italy
University of Turin
University of Turin Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Turin, Italy
Local Health Authority ASL TO3, Piedmont, Italy Health Director Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A279
Background and objective:
In recent years, an effective treatment for chronic Hepatitis C has been implemented. Therefore, screening programs to detect the Hepatitis C Virus were implemented, with the aim of treating chronic hepatitis C and reduce the incidence of this disease. Objective of this study is to analyze the results of a nine month period of HCV screening in a Local Health Authority located in Piedmont, Italy.

The screening program involved all the residents within the territory of the Local Health Authority, including temporary resident migrants, born between 1969 and 1989, for a total of around 157,000 subjects, who were contacted through a letter, and invited to outpatient clinics. A catch-up strategy, involving all the healthcare professionals of the National Health Service, was also implemented, e.g. during routine vaccinations, routine blood tests, or outpatient visits. The screening was executed through a rapid capillary or venous blood sample test. In case of positive results, HCV RNA was searched to confirm the results.

Between 19th March 2022 and 10th December 2022, a total of 24,800 subjects were invited (mean age 43.5 yrs, standard deviation ±2.8). A total of 3,957 capillary blood sample tests and 333 venous blood sample tests were executed (17.3% of the invited subjects, mean age 44.9 yrs, standard deviation ±2.1). Seven subjects resulted HCV-positive, and four of them were confirmed positive through the HCV-RNA test (0.1% of the tests). All the positive subjects were referred to hepatologists.

Hepatitis C screening is an effective method to detect and eradicate HCV. However, to achieve these goals, it is mandatory to improve the adhesion rate. General Practitioners should play a pivotal role in this regard. Promotional campaigns at a local, regional and national level addressed to the general population, and especially to high-risk subjects, should also be implemented.