Friday, June 13, 2014

Screen Patients at High Risk for Hepatitis B Virus, Say AAFP, USPSTF

AAFP Recommends Against Screening Low-risk Population 

June 13, 2014 04:45 pm Chris Crawford – On May 27, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation(www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) that screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection should be performed in people at high risk for infection. The recommendation was based on a systematic review of evidence conducted to update the task force's 2004 recommendation statement.

"The AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science felt it was important to continue to recommend against screening the low-risk population," said Doug Campos-Outcalt, M.D., M.P.A., of Phoenix. "The AAFP agrees with screening those at high risk, but believes we should not offer universal screening for hepatitis B."

Campos-Outcalt, the AAFP liaison to the USPSTF, said the reasoning behind the AAFP's recommendation against screening the low-risk population included the fact that the rates of HBV infection in those not at high risk are very low. "In addition," he added, "an increasing percentage of the population is immune secondary to childhood vaccination. HBV has been on the recommended routine immunization schedule for about 25 years."

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