2Attending Physician, The Miriam Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
3Assistant Professor of Health Services Policy & Practice, Brown University School of Public Health.
4Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health.
Although there is a large health, social, and economic burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the United States, the number of persons infected with HCV in Rhode Island (RI) is unknown. To inform the expansion of HCV-related public health efforts in RI, and because surveillance data are lacking and national surveys, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), likely underestimate true HCV prevalence, we reviewed published peer-reviewed and grey literature to more accurately estimate the prevalence of HCV in RI. The results of our review suggest that between 16,603 and 22,660 (1.7%-2.3%) persons in RI have ever been infected with HCV. Assuming a spontaneous clearance rate of 26%, we estimate that between 12,286 and 16,768 (1.2%-1.7%) have ever been or are currently chronically infected with HCV. Findings suggest the urgent need for improved HCV screening in RI, and that reducing morbidity and mortality from HCV will require a dramatic scale-up of testing, linkage to care, treatment and cure.