Evaluating Ascertainment of Hepatitis C Cases and Deaths by Electronically Linking Surveillance and Vital Statistics Data in Utah
Although chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection results in substantial morbidity and mortality, many cases are undiagnosed and reporting to public health is often incomplete. To determine how well surveillance data documents deaths due to HCV, we linked reported HCV cases to death certificate records. Electronic record linkage found 346 deaths and an additional 254 persons were identified as having chronic HCV as a cause of death that had never been reported to public health. These results suggest that enhanced surveillance is needed to allow for more accurate representation of prevalence and mortality trends amongst the HCV population in Utah.