DOI: 10.2807/ ISSN: 1560-7917

Estimates of hepatitis B virus prevalence among general population and key risk groups in EU/EEA/UK countries: a systematic review

Sandra Bivegete, Anna L McNaughton, Adam Trickey, Zak Thornton, Becky Scanlan, Aaron G Lim, Lina Nerlander, Hannah Fraser, Josephine G Walker, Matthew Hickman, Peter Vickerman, Helen Johnson, Erika Duffell, Ellen Brooks-Pollock, Hannah Christensen
  • Virology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


The burden of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) varies across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).


We aimed to update the 2017 HBV prevalence estimates in EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom for 2018 to 2021.


We undertook a systematic review, adding to HBV prevalence estimates from an existing (2005–2017) database. Databases were searched for original English-language research articles including HBV surface antigen prevalence estimates among the general population, pregnant women, first-time blood donors (FTB), men who have sex with men (MSM), migrants and people in prison. Country experts contributed grey literature data. Risk of bias was assessed using a quality assessment framework.


The update provided 147 new prevalence estimates across the region (updated total n = 579). Median HBV prevalence in the general population was 0.5% and the highest was 3.8% (Greece). Among FTB, the highest prevalence was 0.8% (Lithuania). Estimates among pregnant women were highest in Romania and Italy (5.1%). Among migrants, the highest estimate was 31.7% (Spain). Relative to 2017 estimates, median prevalence among pregnant women decreased by 0.5% (to 0.3%) and increased by 0.9% (to 5.8%) among migrants. Among MSM, the highest estimate was 3.4% (Croatia). Prevalence among people in prison was highest in Greece (8.3%) and the median prevalence increased by 0.6% (to 2.1%).


The HBV prevalence is low in the general population and confined to risk populations in most European countries with some exceptions. Screening and treatment should be targeted to people in prison and migrants.

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