Accurate incidence estimates are essential for quantifying hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic dynamics and monitoring the effectiveness of public health programmes, as well as for predicting future burden of disease and planning patient care. In Egypt, the country with the largest HCV epidemic worldwide, two modelling studies have estimated age-specific incidence rates that, applied to the age pyramid, would correspond to more than 500 000 Egyptians getting infected annually. This is in contrast to figures of the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population that estimates new infections to be approximately 100 000 per year. We performed new analyses of nationwide data to examine the modelling assumptions that led to these estimates. Thus, we found that the key assumption of these models of a stationary epidemic is invalid. We propose an alternate approach to estimating incidence based on analysing cohort data; we find that the number of annual new infections is <150 000.