Epidemiology of chronic hepatitis B and C in Victoria, Australia: insights and impacts from enhanced surveillance
AuthorMacLachlan, JH; Romero, N; Higgins, N; Coutts, R; Chan, R; Stephens, N; Cowie, BC
Source TitleAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMacLachlan, J. H., Romero, N., Higgins, N., Coutts, R., Chan, R., Stephens, N. & Cowie, B. C. (2019). Epidemiology of chronic hepatitis B and C in Victoria, Australia: insights and impacts from enhanced surveillance. AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, 44 (1), pp.59-64. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12934.
Access StatusOpen Access
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of an enhanced viral hepatitis surveillance program on data completeness and on epidemiological assessment of affected populations. METHODS: Notified cases of non-acute hepatitis B and C were analysed to determine demographic characteristics and risk factors during the period prior to July 2015-June 2016, and during enhanced surveillance of the period July 2016-June 2017, during which time doctors were contacted for information about new diagnoses. RESULTS: During the enhanced period, completeness for country of birth and Indigenous status doubled for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C, from 18-37% to 48-65%. The incidence ratio of hepatitis C among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased from eight-fold to 11.4-fold, and the proportion of hepatitis B cases reported as born in China and Vietnam relative to other countries increased. New data fields identified that 12% of hepatitis C diagnoses occurred in a correctional facility, and 2% of hepatitis B cases were healthcare workers. CONCLUSIONS: Improved data completeness highlighted the underlying epidemiology of chronic viral hepatitis, demonstrating the increased burden of infection among specific priority populations. Implications for public health: Enhanced surveillance provides greater insight into the epidemiology of chronic viral hepatitis, identifying groups at risk and opportunities for public health action.
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