Press release


An event dedicated to the start of fieldwork for ‘’A Population-based serosurvey of Prevalence and Risk Factors for SARS-CoV-2, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Georgia’’ study will be held on June 21, 2021, 14:00 Tbilisi time, at the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). The study is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The event will be attended by representatives of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, NCDC, CDC, the World Health Organization, and other experts.
The survey will be launched in June 2021 and will last two months. On June 16-20, a three-day training and pilot study will be held to prepare field and laboratory teams for the survey; experts from U.S. CDC and NCDC will conduct the trainings. The survey population will include children 5-17 years and adults 18 years of age and older (both males and females), residing in randomly selected households in Georgia. Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire and laboratory testing will be conducted to detect antibodies (indicating exposure) and genetic material (showing active infection) against three viral infections in the blood.
The study will measure the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV), and the prevalence of chronic HCV and HBV infection among children aged 5 years and older and adults, as well as to assess the progress of the Hepatitis C Elimination Program in Georgia. It is also a goal of the study to determine whether the country has achieved less than 0.5% prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) target set by WHO EURO for the impact of the HBV vaccine program in Georgia. 
In 2015, a HBV and HCV seroprevalence survey was conducted in Georgia among adults aged 18 years and older to establish baseline hepatitis B and C epidemiology and disease burden in Georgia. The national anti-HCV antibody seroprevalence was 7.7%, and 5.4% had evidence of chronic infection with HCV. 
In 2015, Georgia launch a comprehensive Hepatitis C Elimination Program, and began large-scale screening campaigns throughout the country. Screening services are now provided at over 1,000 facilities of various types. As of December 2020, more than 72% of the adult population was screened for hepatitis C antibodies. Of those screened, 139,686 tested positive, 90,578 were confirmed to have active infection, 72,811 initiated treatment, and 50,644 have been cured. 
The 2015 seroprevalence survey also collected information on HBV infection, providing the first nationwide population-based data on prevalence among adults aged 18 years and older.  The national prevalence of anti-HBc (exposure to HBV) among adults was 25.9%, and the prevalence of HBsAg (active infection) was 2.9%. 
On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern in response to COVID-19, and later declared a pandemic on March 11. Since the identification of the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2, the country has intensively implemented measures to control the virus, expanding testing, monitoring the quality of diagnostics, conducting local seroprevalence surveys, and monitoring all confirmed cases. However, the actual number of cases of COVID-19 is likely higher than the number of confirmed registered cases, and asymptomatic and mild infections may be missed by surveillance. The serosurvey will aim to provide a more comprehensive estimate of exposure throughout the country. 

Website: www.ncdc.ge
Facebook: National Center for Disease Control & Public Health, Georgia (NCDC & PH)
Contact persons :, Nino Mamukashvili 595 956 103
Address: 99 Kakheti Highway, Tbilisi