Shishen Wang and Yuhui Tao contributed equally to this work.
Viral hepatitis, mainly hepatitis B and C, is a serious public health problem worldwide. In China, the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains high, while that of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is controversial. This study investigated the epidemiology of HBV and HCV infections and assessed the beneficial effect of the vaccination strategy for hepatitis B in Northeastern China.
From June 2016 to August 2016, 6541 residents of Changchun in Northeastern China were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Demographic characteristics as well as HBV and HCV serological test results were reviewed and analyzed.
Among all study participants, 3.8% and 0.36% tested positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV, respectively. The HBsAg- and anti-HCV-positive rates were significantly higher in male participants (4.58% and 0.43%) than in female individuals (3.0% and 0.33%). Notably, among all age groups, the lowest rate of HBsAg positivity (0.2%) was found in children born after the implementation of the vaccination strategy for hepatitis B. Conversely, participants aged 40–49 years had significantly greater positive rates of HBsAg (5.9%) compared with those of other age groups. Furthermore, the highest rates of anti-HCV positivity (1.1%) were observed in participants aged 50–59 years.
The rate of HBsAg-positivity declined significantly following successful implementation of the policy on hepatitis B vaccination, indicating a beneficial impact on the control of HBV infection. However, only a slight decrease was observed in the anti-HCV–positivity rate, identifying an area in need of improvement within viral hepatitis prevention and control programs in China.