Gastroenterology clinic

Chronic hepatitis B: a continually evolving disease

Alice Lee, Bong Sik Kim



Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is the most common liver infection in the world, with high prevalence rates in at-risk communities in Australia. The main goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. Lifelong monitoring of disease progression and screening for early liver cancer are required whether or not the patient is receiving drug therapy.

Article Extract

  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affects more than 400 million people globally, and its prevalence varies greatly in different regions.
  • Although Australia and New Zealand have low prevalence rates of less than 1%, some communities recognised as being at risk, including Indigenous people and immigrants from South-East Asia, Pacific Islands, Southern Europe, the Mediterranean region and Africa, have much higher prevalence rates (six- to 12-fold increased prevalence).1
  • Countries with higher intermediate prevalence rates include China, with an estimated 5.49% of the population affected by chronic HBV infection. Particular efforts must be made to not overlook such population groups with regard to screening and surveillance.2

Picture credit: © BSIP/Medical Images.