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 21 January 2018

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News

Hep B infection in Australia is higher than expected

Hep B is higher than predicted on the basis of notifications to the passive surveillance scheme, and most patients had multiple risk factors for infection, finds the latest issue of the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

News image

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There is little recent data of the seroprevalence of Hepatitis B in Australia.

Dr Tawk and colleagues surveyed a large cohort of endoscopy patients attending a teaching hospital in central Sydney.

The investigative team related the presence of Hepatitis B virus markers with putative risk factors for exposure using the SAS statistical package.

The investigators tested 2115 patients.

Of these, 2% were Hepatitis B surface antigen positive, 1% were viraemic, and 10% were anti-Hepatitis Bs and anti-Hepatitis Bc-positive.

A further 20% were vaccinated, and the remaining 70% were found to be susceptible.

The adjusted odds ratio of Hepatitis B infection was increased 36-fold in patients who had been diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The team noted that the adjusted odds ratio for risk of infection patients born in Asia or Pacific islands was increased 12-fold.

The odds ratio of Hep B infection was increased 36-fold in patients with HIV
Journal of Viral Hepatitis

For patients born in North Africa, Middle East & Mediterranean countries the odds ratio for risk of infection was increased 6-fold.

The investigators observed that those born abroad elsewhere in the world had a 3 -fold increased odds ratio.

Those who had household contact with someone diagnosed with Hepatitis between 1980 and 1990 had a 4-fold increased risk of infection.

Patients who injected drugs between 1980 and 1990 had a 4-fold odds ratio of infection.

The investigators found that patients who resided in a military establishment for 3 months, or in a hospital for 3 months, had a 2-fold increase.

Patients who had never been vaccinated for Hepatitis B had a 3-fold increase.

The team noted that those who received blood transfusion due to an accident and/or a haemorrhage, or were of male gender had about a 2-fold increase in risk.

Dr Tawk's team concludes, “The prevalence of Hepatitis B in this hospital population was higher than predicted on the basis of notifications to the passive surveillance scheme.”

“Most Hepatitis B patients had multiple risk factors for infection.”

“However, the hierarchy of odds ratios provides a rational basis for targeted programmes to identify asymptomatic Hepatitis B carriers who might benefit from treatment.”

J Vir Hep 2006: 13(3): 206
03 March 2006

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