Prevalence of Viral Hepatitis in Foreign-Born Populations in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, 2009–2015

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Community Health








African immigrants; Asian immigrants; Country of birth; Hepatitis prevalence


© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. While the majority of viral hepatitis is experienced in the developing world, migration of people from high prevalence countries contributes to health outcomes in the United States. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in foreign-born immigrants living in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. This study used cross-sectional data from 5982 individuals screened at community events held from 2009 to 2015. Descriptive statistics were generated to describe the screening results. Positive results for HBV infection (HBsAg+) and HCV infection (HCVAb+) were analyzed according to age, gender, and country of birth. Of 5982, the majority of participants were born in Asia (77.8%). The prevalence of infection was 6.1% for HBV and 3.8% for HCV in Asia-born immigrants compared to 3.7% for HBV and 2.8% for HCV in Africa-born immigrants. Among participants who were Asia-born, prevalence of HBV infection was highest for those from Cambodia (11.9%) compared to Vietnam (8.2%), China (8.1%), Laos (6.1%), and Korea (4.6%). Among participants who were Africa-born, prevalence of HBV was highest for those from Liberia (6.7%) and Sierra Leone (6.7%), followed by Cameroon (4.4%) and Nigeria (4.2%). The highest HCV prevalence occurred among those from Cambodia (10.8%) and Myanmar (4.9%) in Asia and those from Cameroon (11.4%) and Nigeria (4.8%) in Africa. This study suggests that screening data are disaggregated by country of birth, then improvements can be made to programs for prevention, earlier diagnosis, and linkage to care.

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