Hepatitis B screening proposed for all high-risk adults

Hepatitis B screening proposed for all high-risk adults
Nearly 1 million in U.S. are infected, says Preventive Services Task Force.

(HealthDay)—Adults at high risk for hepatitis B should be screened for the viral infection, according to a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Although most people born in the United States are vaccinated against hepatitis B, there are still nearly 1 million infected people in the United States. Of those with B infection, 15 percent to 25 percent die from serious liver disease or liver cancer.

"The good news is that evidence shows we can catch the disease early in many people who are already infected by screening for hepatitis B virus infection in persons at high risk for infection," member Dr. Douglas Owens, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said in a task force news release. "And treatment can help prevent in people who have chronic hepatitis B infection."

Screening consists of a blood test.

Based on a review of existing evidence, the task force concluded the following people should be screened for hepatitis B:

  • Anyone born in countries or regions with a high rate of hepatitis B infection, including Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the northern countries in South America
  • People born in the United States who were not vaccinated against hepatitis B in infancy whose parents were born in areas with a high rate of hepatitis B infection
  • Those who are HIV-positive
  • IV drug users
  • Gay and bisexual men
  • People with a weak immune system
  • Those undergoing treatment for kidney failure

Vaccination remains the best way to prevent hepatitis B infection, the panel pointed out.

"The United States has universal vaccination of all infants at birth, catch-up vaccination of adolescents and vaccination of groups. Fortunately, most people in the U.S. are no longer at risk of getting hepatitis B," task force member Dr. Mark Ebell said in the news release.

"Because some countries have high rates of [hepatitis B] infection, it is important for immigrants from those countries and their doctors to be aware of their risk status and screen them if appropriate," he added.

Public comments on this draft proposal are being accepted until March 11. The task force—an independent, advisory group of health care experts—will consider these comments in developing its final statement.

More information: The World Health Organization provides more information on hepatitis B.

Evidence Report
Draft Recommendation
Comment on Recommendation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New test IDs genotype of hepatitis C

Jun 20, 2013

(HealthDay)—A new test to help doctors identify the genotype of a person's hepatitis C infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Baby boomers need hepatitis C test, CDC study confirms

Aug 15, 2013

(HealthDay)—Baby boomers—the generation known for sex, drugs and rock and roll—are the most likely Americans to develop hepatitis C, and too many of them aren't tested until it's too late to prevent ...

Recommended for you

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

2 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

22 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

23 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

23 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

Dec 19, 2014

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.