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According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection should be under control by 2030.


Our aim was to describe the size and temporal changes in reported cases of chronic HCV infection in Denmark and Sweden and to estimate the size of the hidden (undiagnosed) population born before 1965.


We extracted all HCV infections reported to national surveillance systems in Denmark and Sweden from 1990 to 2020. Prediction of the size of the hidden HCV-infected population was restricted to the cohort born before 1965 and cases reported up to 2017. We applied a model based on removal sampling from binomial distributions, estimated the yearly probability of diagnosis, and deducted the original HCV-infected population size.


Denmark (clinician-based) reported 10 times fewer hepatitis C cases annually than Sweden (laboratory and clinician-based), peaking in 2007 (n = 425) and 1992 (n = 4,537), respectively. In Denmark, the birth year distribution was monophasic with little change over time. In recent years, Sweden has had a bimodal birth year distribution, suggesting ongoing infection in the young population. In 2017, the total HCV-infected population born before 1965 was estimated at 10,737 living persons (95% confidence interval (CI): 9,744–11,806), including 5,054 undiagnosed, in Denmark and 16,124 (95% CI: 13,639–18,978), including 10,580 undiagnosed, in Sweden.


The reporting of HCV cases in Denmark and Sweden was different. For Denmark, the estimated hidden population was larger than the current national estimate, whereas in Sweden the estimate was in line with the latest published numbers.


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