Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Screening for hepatitis C

Response from Hepatitis C Trust, BASL, BIA, BVHG, BSG, and BHIVA to article asking whether widespread screening for hepatitis C is justified

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 24 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h998
  1. Graham R Foster, professor of hepatology, Queen Mary’s University of London1,
  2. Charles Gore, chief executive2,
  3. Mark Hudson, consultant hepatologist, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, and president3,
  4. Peter Moss, consultant in infectious diseases, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and president4,
  5. Andrew Ustianowski, consultant in infectious diseases, North Manchester General Hospital, and president5,
  6. Stephen Ryder, consultant hepatologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and vice president hepatology6,
  7. Sanjay Bhagani, consultant physician, Royal Free Hospital, and chair7
  1. 1Queen Mary’s University of London, London E1 4AT, UK
  2. 2Hepatitis C Trust, London, UK
  3. 3BASL (British Association for the Study of the Liver), Lichfield, UK
  4. 4British Infection Association (BIA), Knutsford, UK
  5. 5British Viral Hepatitis Group (BVHG), Lichfield, UK
  6. 6British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), London, UK
  7. 7BHIVA Hepatitis Society, London, UK
  1. g.r.foster{at}

Koretz and colleagues argue that hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening should be delayed.1 We disagree. HCV transmission was common in the 1960s-80s, and because mortality occurs 30-40 years after infection deaths will rise exponentially over the next decade.2 Delaying effective intervention will have a massive impact. The authors argue that because a community study showed an increase in liver and non-liver mortality most infected people will not die from HCV. Infection can cause or exacerbate renal disease, diabetes, and dyslipidaemia and treatment reduces all cause mortality,3 indicating that both liver and non-liver related deaths are caused by …

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