HBV, HCV screening low among Japanese workers
Screening for hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) is low among workers in Japan, a recent study has found. Public funding and government efforts to screen workers should be considered.
The study included data collected from 84 occupational health organizations. Information of 10,541,326 workers were included in the analysis, of whom 6,880,992 were men, and 3,880,334 were women. Across all age groups, the screening rate for HBV was higher than that for HCV (5.23 percent vs 3.83 percent). Nevertheless, the overall coverage remained low.
In addition, women workers were significantly more likely to undergo screening than their male counterparts (p<0.001).
Similarly, screening for HB surface antigens was more common in women than in men, though coverage was low overall (6.08 percent vs 4.74 percent). The same was true for HCV antibody screening (4.6 percent vs 3.4 percent; p<0001).
Researchers also estimated HBV and HCV positivity rates of 0.04 percent and 0.20 percent among workers aged 20–29 years. In the 30–39-year age group, these rates were 0.30 percent and 0.23 percent, respectively, while around 0.62 percent and 0.34 percent would test positive for the respective infection in workers aged 40–49 years.
Including the number of workers aged 50–59 and ≥60 years and using information from the 2016 Labour Force Survey of Japan, the researchers estimated that around 0.30 million workers have chronic HBV and 0.14 million have HCV.
“If those who become infected with HBV and HCV are screened and treated promptly, these infections do not have adverse long-term health effects. The government should set a goal of screening all workers for viral hepatitis at a time to terminate hepatitis-related deaths,” they said.