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Study: Doctors don't know enough about hepatitis B

Category: Liver Diseases

A new study from Stanford University reports that despite more than 2 million people in the U.S. with chronic hepatitis B, many doctors lack adequate knowledge about the disease.

Hepatitis B only occurs in the non-Asian population at a rate of roughly 1 in every thousand people but is substantially higher in the Asian-American population and endemic in China. Chronic Hepatitis B, affects 1.25 million Americans, half of whom are Asian Americans, according to the Asian American Health Initiative.

Doctor Stephanie Choa, a study author, told KCBS that many cases start in childhood or birth.

"An infant born to a mom with chronic hepatitis B has a 90 percent chance of developing the disease for the rest of their lives as well," she said.

Choa said their study found that most physicians had fundamentally poor knowledge about the disease.

Hepatitis B is easily cured in infants with a short series of shots, according to Choa, so a public awareness campaign encouraging screening and vaccination, targeted at both doctors and patients, could be effective.

Ted Fang, director for the Hep B Free Campaign in San Francisco, says a goal is to have people at risk get routine hepatitis B tests.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19170437-ADNFCR

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