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UK "needs to be educated about HBV"

The government should set up and put in place a plan to halt the surge in chronic HBV infection in the UK, say Hepatitis B Foundation UK.

The report "Rising Curve: Chronic Hepatitis B Infection in the UK" shows that Britain is experiencing a steady increase in the number of chronically infected people.

David Mutimer at Birmingham University said that "steps must be taken to deal with this problem, and to provide help to carriers of hepatitis B.

"UK society needs to be educated about HBV, and people need to be aware that there is a vaccine which can protect against hepatitis B infection.

"This invaluable report clearly outlines the size of the problem and calls for the early establishment of a national action plan to help infected people and to limit the extent of spread of HBV in Britain."

Eddie Chan, director of the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre, explained: "With a surge in migration from countries with a high HBV prevalence rate we are not surprised by these figures.

"Britain needs migrant workers and in return Britain must set in place the infrastructure to deal with the changing health demographics.

"Today we are joining with the Hepatitis B Foundation UK to call for the government to develop a strategy and set in place an action plan to halt the rapid increase in the numbers of people infected with chronic HBV."

Hepatitis B Foundation UK

Do you think the government should develop a strategy to halt the rapid increase in HBV infection? Please supply your comment, name and location in the feedback box below. Your details will not be published if you so request. (Terms and conditions apply)

"Yes, I think a strategy should be developed and implemented. We have a rise in risk taking behaviour in young people with alcohol consumption increasing and sexual health decreasing. Universal vaccination should be implemented." - Name and address supplied

"There is a cost at the moment for Hep.B which will put people off" - Name and address supplied

"Without a doubt, yes. If we have a large amount of migrant workers the government needs to develop a robust policy on chronic HBV" - Name and address supplied
"I am a Practice Nurse and my partner works for the prison service. I definately think the strategy needs to include ensuring adequate vaccination for all HMP staff. However the amount of prisoners/patients screened or offered vaccination in high secure settings is far too few. I had first hand experience in a secure hospital and this was not a priority" - Name and address supplied

"Many people, especially employers, are complacent about hepatitis B. Construction workers working on sewage plants are not advised to be vaccinated. Similarly, people such as plumbers are not either" - Name and address supplied

"I work as a practice nurse, and yes I agree and the strategy should include hepatitis B. I am seeing more and more patients with it, and mostly from other countries' - Name and address supplied

"For a start, anybody who works in special needs areas such as schools where there is any risk of getting HBV via body fluids spillage should be vaccinated. In Australia and USA all kids are vaccinated, why not here in the UK?" - Name and address supplied