Retrieval and re-evaluation of previously diagnosed chronic hepatitis C infections lost to medical follow-up in the Netherlands

Jeanne Heil*, Khalida Soufidi, Frans Stals, Hans Frantzen, Astrid Robroek-Schaecken, C. Minke Bakker, Annick B. van Nunen, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Many individuals previously diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are likely to be lost to medical follow-up and, therefore, remain untreated despite new highly effective drug treatment, direct acting antivirals. We aim to identify and retrieve these chronic HCV-infected individuals to re-evaluate them and offer treatment.


Possible chronic HCV infections were identified from test results of the medical microbiological laboratory, notifications to the public health service, and the hospital registries over the past 15 years were checked in South Limburg, the Netherlands. Individuals were contacted based on the physician-patient relationship of the gastroenterologist or microbiologist (retrieval). Individuals were informed about the new treatment options, offered an HCV-RNA test, and if still positive, referred to the gastroenterologist for treatment (re-evaluation).


In total, 689 individuals with a positive anti-HCV test in the past were identified, 308 (45%) were eligible for retrieval, 90 (29%) of them were retrieved, 34 (38%) of those retrieved were re-evaluated, 19 (56%) of those tested were HCV-RNA positive, and 12 (63%) of these individuals were offered treatment.


During every step of the retrieval chain, many patients were lost. Nevertheless, with substantial effort, we were able to identify, retrieve, and positively re-evaluate a limited number of individuals with a possible chronic HCV infection who were lost to medical follow-up (19 patients). With this case-finding approach, we were able to prevent potential severe complications in these patients and contribute to a small step in the eradication of HCV in the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-856
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • case-finding
  • chronic hepatitis C
  • direct acting antivirals
  • disease eradication
  • hepatitis C virus
  • public health
  • retrieval


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