The Public Health England recently published the annual report for 2018 on acute hepatitis B infections in England. The report provides the most updated acute hepatitis B surveillance data, which are crucial for targeting prevention and control activities such as the selective immunisation programme.
Key findings from the report are as follows:
- In 2018, 381 acute or probable acute cases of hepatitis B were reported in England, providing an annual incidence rate of 0.68 per 100,000 population, lower than that reported in 2017 (0.80 per 100,000 population).
- The highest incidence of acute hepatitis B was seen in London (1.23 per 100,000 population). However, this is lower than the incidence reported in 2017 (1.43 per 100,000 population).
- Men accounted for 64.7 per cent of the cases with an overall incidence of 0.87 per 100,000 individuals. Women had an incidence rate of 0.47 per 100,000 population.
- Among the cases who had their ethnicity recorded (14.7%), 71 per cent were white, 7.1 per cent were black African or black Caribbean and 5.4 per cent were Indian.
- Heterosexual exposure was implicated as the probable exposure source for 50 per cent of cases, whereas sex between men was reported as the probable exposure source for 17.3 per cent of cases.
- Ten per cent of cases were attributed to probable healthcare-related exposures (surgery, dental procedures and other hospital exposure), 3.4 per cent to skin piercing or tattooing and 3.6 per cent to injectable drug use.