1Checkin Zollhaus, Zürich, Switzerland.
2Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
3Communicable Diseases Division, Federal Office of Public Health, Bern, Switzerland.
4Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.
5Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
6Infectious Disease Clinic, St. Gallen, Switzerland.
7Private Physician, Zürich, Switzerland.
8Department of Public Health, Environments and Society, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
In this multi-method study, we investigated the prevalence of chronic infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Switzerland in 2020, and assessed Switzerland's progress in eliminating HCV as a public health problem by 2030 with regard to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria targeting infections acquired during the preceding year ('new transmissions') and HCV-associated mortality. Based on a systematic literature review, the reappraisal of a 2015 prevalence analysis assuming 0.5% prevalence among the Swiss population and data from many additional sources, we estimated the prevalence among subpopulations at increased risk and the general population. For new transmissions, we evaluated mandatory HCV notification data and estimated unreported new transmissions based on subpopulation characteristics. For the mortality estimate, we re-evaluated a previous mortality estimate 1995-2014 based on new data on comorbidities and age. We found a prevalence of ≤0.1% among the Swiss population. Discrepancies to the 2015 estimate were explained by previous (i) underestimation of sustained virologic response numbers, (ii) overestimation of HCV prevalence among PWID following bias towards subgroups at highest risk, (iii) overestimation of HCV prevalence among the general population from inclusion of high-risk persons and (iv) underestimation of spontaneous clearance and mortality. Our results suggest that the WHO elimination targets have been met 10 years earlier than previously foreseen. These advancements were made possible by Switzerland's outstanding role in harm-reduction programmes, the longstanding micro-elimination efforts concerning HIV-infected MSM and nosocomial transmissions, little immigration from high-prevalence countries except Italian-born persons born before 1953, and wealth of data and funding.