TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Hepatitis B prevention standards should be expanded, study says

Current prevention and screening standards for hepatitis B are cost effective and may be worth expanding, according to a newly released study.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guideline to screen with a prevalence of more than two percent is worth the cost, according to ScienceBlog.com.

“Furthermore, screening of adults in the United States in lower-prevalence populations is also likely to be cost-effective, which could mean that current health policy should be reconsidered,” Mark Eckman said, according to ScienceBlog.com. Eckman was a co-investigator on the study and is a UC Health physician and professor of medicine.

“While previous analyses have focused on prevention, the cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies and/or screening and vaccinating high-risk populations, none have evaluated the larger question of screening and treatment in the general adult population,” Eckman and his colleagues said, according to ScienceBlog.com.

Eckman said that current guidelines, such as those of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, do not utilize relatively high rates of prevalence in targeted populations.

“Our analysis suggests that screening becomes cost-effective at a population prevalence as low as 0.3 percent — 1.7 percent lower than current guidelines — with a cost at $50,000 per quality-adjusted life years gained,” Eckman said, ScienceBlog.com reports.