Background & aims: Migrants born in countries where hepatitis B is endemic are a risk group for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Treatment options have improved, but due to the asymptomatic nature of chronic HBV infection, the majority of patients remain unidentified.
Methods: In 2009, a campaign targeting the Chinese community was held in the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The campaign combined disease awareness activities with free HBV testing at outreach locations. Chronically HBV infected patients were referred to specialist care based on a referral guideline. Before and after the campaign, knowledge of chronic hepatitis B was measured through questionnaires in a convenience sample of the target population (n=285 and n=277).
Results: In a period of 3 months, 13 outreach activities took place and 1090 Chinese migrants were tested for HBV. Forty-nine percent had serological signs of a past or recent HBV infection and 8.5% (n=92) were chronically infected. Thirty-eight percent (n=35) of chronically infected patients were referred for evaluation by a specialist and of these, 15 started antiviral treatment within 1 year of follow-up. Before the campaign, 55% answered correctly to 6 or more out of 10 knowledge items. Knowledge was positively associated with educational level. After the campaign, an increase in knowledge was observed in participants with low levels of education.
Conclusions: Chinese migrants could be reached with an outreach campaign, and on-site testing was well accepted. A high prevalence of chronic HBV infection was found and referral to specialist care and initiation of treatment was successful.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.