The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that screening adults and adolescents at increased risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has moderate net benefit. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Roger Chou, M.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues updated the 2014 HBV screening review in nonpregnant adolescents and adults. Data were included from 30 trials and 20 cohort studies with 94,168 participants. The researchers found that none of the studies directly assessed the effects of screening for HBV infection versus no screening on clinical outcomes. Nearly all HBV infection cases would be identified by screening strategies that focus on risk factors such as having immigrated from high-prevalence countries and demographic and behavioral risk factors. Antiviral therapy compared with placebo or no treatment was associated with an increased likelihood of achieving intermediate outcomes based on 18 trials. In nine cohort studies, there was an association reported between achieving an intermediate outcome following antiviral therapy and improved clinical outcomes.
Based on these findings, the USPSTF concluded with moderate certainty that HBV infection screening in asymptomatic adolescents and adults at increased risk for infection has moderate net benefit and recommends screening (B recommendation).
“Screening teens and adults who are at increased risk for hepatitis B infection can help detect the virus and enable treatment to prevent serious health effects,” USPSTF member Chyke Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H. said in a statement.