Objective: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the leading cause of liver disease, and Taiwan has among the highest prevalence of HCV infection in the general population in Northeast Asia, estimated at between 2% and 4%. The aim of this study was to estimate the number of patients living with chronic HCV infection in Taiwan and quantify the expected numbers in each of the five Metavir fibrosis stages. Methods: We applied a back-projection approach, using observed hepatocellular carcinoma incidence between 1979 and 2008 and a smoothed Expectation-Maximization algorithm to maximize a Poisson likelihood to estimate the previous incidence of HCV infection. The algorithm was coded in Excel and combined with the MOdelling the NAtural histoRy and Cost-effectiveness of Hepatitis model (a hepatitis C natural history markov model) to predict the past and future numbers in each Metavir fibrosis stage. Results: Incident cases were predicted to have peaked in 1972 at 56,634 annually, with the prevalence peaking in 1986 at 763,737 infections and falling to 578,203 infections in 2012. It was estimated that in 2012, 127,795 (23.0%), 105,545 (19.0%), 81,211 (14.6%), 123,939 (22.3%), and 116,823 (21.1%) subjects were in fibrosis stages F0, F1, F2, F3, and F4, respectively. Discussion: Our study provides HCV infection prevalence estimates, stratified by Metavir fibrosis stage, in Taiwan for 2012. This has potential implications for budget planning, particularly with the availability of emerging therapies because fibrosis stage is predictive of both rapid and sustained virological response; therefore, planning expected treatment response in a given population could be enhanced with this additional information.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
- Health Policy