Vietnamese community screening for hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus


Zobair M. Younossi, MD, MPH, Center for Liver Diseases, Inova Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church, 22042 VA, USA.


Summary.  Asian Americans represent an important cohort at high risk for viral hepatitis. To determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HBV vaccination in a Vietnamese community, a total of 322 Vietnamese subjects from a local doctor’s office and annual Vietnamese Health Fair were included in this study. Demographic and clinical data were collected. 2.2% of the screened cohort tested positive for anti-HCV and 9.3% tested positive for HBsAg. Unlike HBV-positive subjects, HCV-positive subjects had significantly higher liver enzymes (P = 0.0045 and P = 0.0332, respectively). The HBV-positive group was more likely to report jaundice (P = 0.0138) and a family history of HBV (P = 0.0115) compared to HBV-negative subjects. Forty-eight patients (15.5%) reported a family history of liver disease (HBV, HCV, HCC, cirrhosis, other). Of this 48, 68.8% reported no personal history of HBV vaccination and 77.1% reported no family history of vaccination for HBV. Among the 183 subjects without a family history of liver disease, 156 (85.2%) reported no personal history of vaccination and 168 (91.8%) reported no family history of vaccination. HBV vaccination rates in those reporting a family history of liver disease were significantly higher (P = 0.020). There was a high prevalence of HBV infection in this community screening. Nevertheless, the rate for HBV vaccination was low. The low prevalence of abnormal liver enzymes in HBV-positive subjects emphasizes the need for screening to be triggered by risk factors and not by abnormal liver enzymes.