Viral hepatitis in correctional facilities in the Northern Territory of Australia 2003–2017

Richard P. Sullivan, Rob Baird, Kevin Freeman, Hugh Heggie, Joshua S. Davis, Catherine S. Marshall, Jane Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The demographic of Northern Territory prison population differs than elsewhere in Australia and the prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C may therefore be somewhat different from other jurisdictions. There has been no study which has specifically described the serological results of a large proportion of prisoners in Northern Territory correctional facilities over an extended period of time. Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study reviewed serological results and testing rates for hepatitis B, and hepatitis C performed in correctional facilities in the Northern Territory of Australia between July 1st, 2003 and June 30th, 2017. Results: The proportion of positive records over 14 years for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was 641/12,066 (5.3, 95% CI 4.9–5.7), for hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) 4937/12,138 (40.1, 95%CI 39.8–41.6), for hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) 6966/13,303 (52.4, 95% CI 51.5–53.2), and for hepatitis C antibody 569/12,153 (4.7, 95% CI 4.3–5.1). The proportion of prisoners tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C has decreased since 2015, while a high proportion of prisoners remain non-immune to hepatitis B. Conclusion: There is a relatively high proportion of positive serological markers of hepatitis B, and a lower proportion of positive hepatitis C serology in the Northern Territory’s correctional facilities compared to overall Australian rates. As the proportion of prisoners tested for hepatitis B and C has decreased recently, and a high proportion of prisoners remain non-immune to hepatitis B, there are opportunities to increase testing and vaccination rates in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number584
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Northern Territory
  • Prisoner health

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