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News

Birth cohort screening for chronic Hepatitis during colonoscopy appointments

This month's issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology evaluates the efficacy of birth cohort screening for chronic Hepatitis during colonoscopy appointments.

News image

More than 70% of infections with hepatitis C viruses occur among people born between 1945 and 1965.

The US Centers for Disease Control estimate that 70% of people with chronic hepatitis are not aware that they are infected with a virus.

Dr Dawn Sears from Texas, USA reported that they performed a prospective trial to determine whether people born during this time period would accept testing for chronic viral infection during routine colonoscopies.

The team also evaluated acceptance and efficacy of screening for immunity to hepatitis A and B viruses.

During a 3-month period, 500 people, 50–65 years old, who received a colonoscopy were offered a test for viral hepatitis.

The team reported that patients answered questions about vaccination, exposure, diagnoses, and risk factors related to viral hepatitis, and blood samples were collected.

The doctors contacted patients who tested positive for antibodies to hepatitis C viruses or hepatitis B surface antigen for further testing and possible therapy.

Patients without immunity to hepatitis A or HBV were offered vaccinations.

The research team reported that 376 people agreed to be tested.

136 patients had at least 1 risk factor for chronic hepatitis
American Journal Of Gastroenterology

The researchers noted that 4 were found to have antibodies against hepatitis C viruses, and 1 had detectable virus.

None of the patients tested positive for Hepatitis B surface antigen.

The team found that 136 patients had at least 1 risk factor for chronic hepatitis, and 31 had multiple risk factors.

The research team noted that 315 patients were not immune to hepatitis A, HBV, or both viruses.

Dr Sears commented, "It is possible to screen patients for viral hepatitis during visits for routine colonoscopy."

"This approach can identify individuals with undiagnosed chronic HBV and hepatitis C viruses infections who could benefit from education, vaccination, or therapy."

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108: 981–989
27 June 2013

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