CDC: All U.S. adults recommended to get tested for hepatitis B once in their lifetime

(ABC 6 News) – A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all U.S. adults to be tested for hepatitis B (HBV) at least once in their lifetime.

The CDC says it’s estimated 580,000 to 2.4 million persons are living with HBV infection in the United States, and two-thirds of whom might be unaware they’re infected. Chronic HBV infection disproportionately affects persons born outside the United States; non-U.S.–born persons account for 14% of the general population, but account for 69% of the U.S. population living with chronic HBV infection.

Without treatment and monitoring, HBV infection can lead to deadly health outcomes, including liver damage and liver cancer.

HBV is transmitted through contact with infected blood or body fluids, such as during pregnancy or delivery, through sex, or by injection drug use (IDU), with the greatest risk for chronic infection occurring during perinatal infection.

The CDC says 70% of adults in the United States self-reported they were unvaccinated for HBV as of 2018.

The report updates and expands previous guidelines for HBV screening and testing by recommending screening for all U.S. adults and expanding continual periodic risk-based testing to include more groups, activities, exposures, and conditions. 

The report says providers should implement the new CDC hepatitis B screening and testing recommendations to ensure all adults are screened for HBV infection with the triple-panel at least once in their lifetimes and that people who are not vaccinated for hepatitis B – but are at increased risk of HBV infection – receive periodic testing.

View the full report, CLICK HERE.