Hepatitis B Blood Donor Screening Data: An Under-Recognized Resource for Canadian Public Health Surveillance

Viruses. 2023 Feb 1;15(2):409. doi: 10.3390/v15020409.


Hepatitis B surveillance is essential to achieving Canada's goal of eliminating hepatitis B by 2030. Hepatitis B rates, association of infection with vaccine age-eligibility, and risk factors were analyzed among 1,401,603 first-time Canadian blood donors from 2005 to 2020. Donors were classified as having likely chronic or likely resolved/occult infections based on hepatitis B surface antigen, anti-hepatitis B core antigen, and hepatitis B nucleic acid test results. Likely chronically infected and control donors (ratio 1:4) participated in risk-factor interviews. The 2019 rate of likely chronic infection was 61.9 per 100,000 (95% CI 46.5-80.86) and 1449.5 per 100,000 for likely resolved/occult infections (95% CI 1370.7-1531.7). Likely chronic infections were higher in males (OR 3.2; 95% CI 2.7-3.7) and the vaccine-ineligible birth cohort (OR 1.9; 95% CI 1.6-2.2). The main risk factors were living with someone who had hepatitis (OR 12.5; 95% CI 5.2-30.0) and ethnic origin from a high-prevalence country (OR 8.4; 95% CI 5.9-11.9). Undiagnosed chronic hepatitis B may be more prevalent in Canada than currently determined by traditional passive hepatitis B reporting. Blood donor data can be useful in informing hepatitis B rates and evaluating vaccination programs in Canada.

Keywords: blood donors; chronic hepatitis B; vaccination.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Donors*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Donor Selection
  • Hepatitis B* / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis B* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persistent Infection
  • Public Health Surveillance

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.