Professor Ben Cowie and colleagues from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have recently published a perspective with The Medical Journal of Australia calling for all Australians aged 20–79 years whose hepatitis B status has not been documented to be offered testing.
“Australia’s National Strategy for Hepatitis B sets the target of 80% of people diagnosed by 2022, but this proportion has barely improved in recent years, from 63% in 2011 to 69% in 2018. Although about 6000 people6 are newly diagnosed with hepatitis B each year, the number of people living with hepatitis B in Australia has continued to increase due to the addition of people who acquired the disease in their country of birth. This leaves an estimated 71,000 Australians (plausible range, 32,000–93,000) undiagnosed and at risk of significant adverse outcomes” writes Cowie and colleagues.
Cowie and colleagues call upon general practitioners working in primary care in Australia to be supported to incorporate hepatitis B screening into standard preventive health care for all adults.
Read the full article here.
Listen to an interview with Professor Cowie on the article here.