Hepatitis C in ethnic minority populations in England

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The aim of the study was to investigate the differing epidemiology of hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease in ethnic minorities in England. We used Hospital Episode Statistics from 1997/98 to 2004/05 to directly age-standardize numbers of episodes and deaths from hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease in ethnic groups using the white English population as standard and the age-structured population by ethnic group from the 2001 Census. We estimated the odds of having a diagnosis of end-stage liver disease amongst hepatitis C-infected individuals in each ethnic group compared with whites using logistic regression. The main outcome measures were age-standardized morbidity and mortality ratios and morbidity and mortality odds ratios. Standardized ratios (95% confidence interval) for hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease ranged from 73 (38–140) in Chinese people to 1063 (952–1186) for those from an ‘Other’ ethnic group. Amongst individuals with a diagnosis of hepatitis C infection, the odds ratios (95% CI) of severe liver disease were 1.42 (1.13–1.79), 1.57 (1.36–1.81), 2.44 (1.85–3.22), 1.73 (1.36–2.19) and 1.83 (1.08–3.10) comparing individuals of Black African, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Chinese origin with whites, respectively. Ethnic minority populations in England are more likely than whites to experience an admission or to die from severe liver disease as a result of hepatitis C infection. Ethnic minority populations may have a higher prevalence of hepatitis C or they may experience a poorer prognosis because of differential access to health services, longer duration of infection or the prevalence of co-morbidities.

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