SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2016

U.S. seniors hit hard by hepatitis B

Chronic viral hepatitis is hitting the United States' baby boomers especially hard, according to recent data, with patients aged 44 to 63 comprising 50 percent of all hepatitis B virus infections and 75 percent of all hepatitis C virus infections.

The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study, a prospective longitudinal, observational cohort study, reviewed more than 1.6 million adults' medical records from 2006 to 2010. A total of 2,202 of those studied had chronic HBV and 8,810 had confirmed chronic HCV, Healio.com reports.

Asian/Pacific Islanders carried the highest HBV infection burden at 57.8 percent, with 28.3 percent of white patients and 13.3 percent of black patients carrying the majority of the rest of the burden. Of those infected, 76.3 percent had private insurance, while 16.5 percent had Medicare and 5.1 percent used Medicaid.

Between 2001 and 2010, 22.3 percent of those infected with HBV had a liver biopsy, 37.9 percent were hospitalized at least one and 2.1 percent underwent liver transplants for end-stage liver disease, according to Healio.com.

The death rate for those infected was 21.6 per 1,000 person years.

"[The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study] has already generated unique information about the high morbidity and mortality in this population," the researchers said, Healio.com reports. "It is expected to yield much data-driven information about the impact of therapies, co-morbidities and conditions on the general population with HBV and HCV in the future."