Friday, August 30, 2013

The Faces of HBV in America

The Faces of HBV in America

There is a substantial opportunity to reduce the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the United States by more rigorous screening and vaccination.1 The list of groups that should be screened, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, includes individuals born outside the United States in Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and other regions with intermediate to high chronic hepatitis B endemicity (>2%); pregnant women; and nonvaccinated adults with risk factors including exposure (occupational, travel, or health care–related), high-risk sexual activity, and injection-drug use.2 Regional variations in chronic HBV infection, traced to differences in risk factor prevalence, have been reported.1 Recognizing these risk differences is important in the prevention and treatment of chronic HBV and its complications, including hepatocellular carcinoma.

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