[Epidemiology of hepatitis B and C in Croatia].Acta Med Croatica 2005; 59(5):377-81AM
The incidence of HBV and HCV infection is hard to determine because of the high number of asymptomatic infections. According to data of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, there are 200 newly infected persons with hepatitis B and approximately the same number of newly identified HBsAg carriers occur each year. Accordingly, Croatia is among the countries with less than 2% of HBsAg carriers in the general population. In these circumstances, HBV infection is most often spread among adolescents and younger adults. The route of transmission is most often sexual (semen) or through the skin in high-risk groups. An increased risk of infection is found in newborns of HBsAg positive mothers, i.v. addicts, promiscuous individuals, male homosexuals, person in close contact with acutely ill or chronic HBsAg carriers, persons that come in contact with blood and other potentially contaminated body fluids, dialysis patients, patients with multiple blood transfusions, patients with transplanted organ or tissue, patients treated for hematologic malignancies and hemophilia, and persons who undergo acupuncture, tattooing or piercing, or travel to areas with a high prevalence of HBV infection. The estimated prevalence of HCV infection marker (anti-HCV) in the Croatian general population is more than 1% and the number of yearly infected with hepatitis C reported to the Croatian Institute of Public Health is around 200 cases. The highest incidence is found in the 20-40 age groups at a high risk of infection by the use of drug injection. At risk are persons who received transfusion of blood or blood products prior to the availability of blood screening of voluntary blood donors.