(HealthDay News) – Reporting of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections is improving, but is still incomplete, according to research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kim Kirkey, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC conducted an initial assessment, together with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and an urban health care system, to examine the completeness of reporting of cases of chronic HBV and HCV infection to the MDCH viral hepatitis registry. Participants were enrolled in a multicenter chronic hepatitis study.

The researchers found that 82% clinically confirmed HBV and 65% of clinically confirmed HCV infections were reported. For those with more recent infections, the completeness of reporting was significantly improved, but was still incomplete. Patient demographic characteristics had a significant impact on the completeness of reporting of chronic hepatitis infections. Risk factors were included in few cases of HBV and HCV infection.

“Given the complexity of chronic hepatitis surveillance and the limited resources available, public health authorities should explore new strategies to improve reporting, such as wider adoption of electronic reporting,” write the authors of an editorial note. “The findings suggest the need for exploration of additional data sources for risk factor information, especially because data in chronic viral hepatitis case reports might not reflect the current risk for secondary transmission.”

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