Summary

  • ​​Approximately 239,000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis B, 38% of whom have not yet been diagnosed. 1
  • Without appropriate monitoring or treatment, up to one in four people with CHB will die from liver cancer or liver failure.2
  • International evidence shows appropriate treatment for CHB can reduce the risk of liver cancer by more than 50%. 3

 

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a type of viral hepatitis that is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids and can infect the liver. Those who have had the infection for longer than six months are defined as having chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

 

Hepatitis B in Australia

​All health care providers have an essential role to play in the testing, diagnosis and management of people living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). It is estimated that more than 90,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Furthermore less than half of the people who need antiviral treatment are receiving it.1

There are 380 deaths attributable to hepatitis B each year.​

Timely diagnosis and clinical management, including antiviral therapy, can prevent CHB-related deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer. 

 

How practitioners can make a difference​

  • Opportunistically test ​people from priority populations for hepatitis B.

  • Correctly monitor people with CHB to assess for phase of disease, and manage or refer accordingly.
  • Identify when a patient should be referred for consideration of treatment.
  • Test and vaccinate family members, household contacts and sexual contacts of people with hepatitis B.​​

 

Further Reading

To read more about hepatitis B in Australia and around the world, please visit:

 

References

  1. MacLachlan JH, Cowie BC and Haynes K. Hepatitis B Mapping Project: Estimates of chronic hepatitis B prevalence, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment by Primary Health Network, 2014/15 - National Report
  2. Lavanchy D. Hepatitis B virus epidemiology, disease burden, treatment, and current and emerging prevention and control measures. J Viral Hepatitis. 11: 97–107. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2893.2003.00487.x​
  3. Papatheodoridis, G. et al Incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis B patients receiving nucleos(t)ide therapy: A systematic review. J Hepatol. 2010 Volume 53 , Issue 2 , 348 - 356