CDC: Increase in Acute Hep B in Appalachia

MMWR 2016; 65: 47-50. Increases in Acute Hepatitis B Virus Infections — Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, 2006–2013

An excerpt:

  • During 2006–2013, a total of 3,305 cases of acute HBV infection were reported to CDC from Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. During 2009–2013, incidence of acute HBV infection increased 114% in these three states, but remained stable in the United States overall
  • Among cases in which at least one risk factor was reported, the proportion of persons reporting injection drug use as a risk factor was significantly greater in 2010–2013, compared with 2006–2009 (75% versus 53%; p<0.001)…the increase was statistically significant only among cases occurring in non-urban counties
  • The findings in this report are subject to …limitations. First, NNDSS is a passive surveillance system, and therefore, unreported cases might have been missed. Second, the current case definition for acute HBV infection captures only symptomatic persons and excludes persons with asymptomatic HBV … Third, … certain populations at high risk (e.g., persons who are incarcerated, homeless, and uninsured) with limited access to care could potentially be underrepresented

My take: Increased drug use appears to be driving an increase in acute HBV in Appalachia. “Evidence-based prevention strategies, including increasing hepatitis B vaccination coverage, testing and linkage to care activities, and education campaigns targeting persons who inject drugs are urgently needed.”

Gibbs Gardens, Ball Ground

Gibbs Gardens, Ball Ground

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