Screening for hepatitis B in East Arnhem Land: a high prevalence of chronic infection despite incomplete screening

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Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is common in Aboriginal Australians, but current seroprevalences in Northern Territory communities are unknown. We performed an audit of HBV serology on a convenience sample of 112 adults at an East Arnhem Land Health Service. Complete HBV serology was only available in 26 (23%) patients. Evidence of HBV exposure (core antibody-positive) was found in 43 of 68 (63%) patients tested, and current HBV infection (surface antigen-positive) was found in nine of 76 (12%). HBV is an incompletely defined, under-resourced and substantial public health problem in Aboriginal Australians.

Keywords: epidemiology; hepatitis B; mass screening; population groups; public health

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia 2: Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, Nhulunbuy

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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