Hepatitis B prevalence in women giving birth in the Northern Territory, Australia, 2005-2015

Amalie Dyda, Skye McGregor, Paula Binks, Jane Davies, Steven Yc Tong, Vicki Krause, Peter Markey, Shu Li Qin Li, Joshua S. Davis, John M. Kaldor, Bette Liu

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Abstract

Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination in the Northern Territory (NT) was funded for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newborns in 1988 and for all newborns in 1990. The prevalence of HBV in the Northern Territory was found to be higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than in non-Indigenous women across 2005-2010. We examined more recent data to assess whether the gap remains. 

Methods: We linked data from two routinely collected registries, the NT Perinatal Register and the NT Notifiable Diseases System, to investigate the prevalence of HBV infection, according to eligibility for infant HBV vaccination, in women giving birth during 2005-2015. 

Results: There were 22,781 women recorded as giving birth in public hospitals in the Northern Territory during 2005-2015. Hepatitis B virus prevalence was highest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (1.8%) and overseas-born women (1.8%). Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, estimated hepatitis B virus prevalence was significantly higher in those born before the implementation of the vaccination program than in those born afterwards (2.4% versus 0.3%). Prevalence was highest amongst those living in very remote areas, both overall (2.2%) and within the birth cohort eligible for HBV vaccination. 

Conclusions: Hepatitis B virus prevalence in Northern Territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women appears to be declining as more individuals vaccinated as part of infant vaccination programs reach adulthood. Prevalence remains highest in remote areas, highlighting the importance of ongoing monitoring and of promoting vaccination in these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalCommunicable diseases intelligence (2018)
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2022

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