The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) has declined over the past two decades as vaccination coverage for the virus has risen, MedPage Today reports.

Geraldine McQuillan, PhD, of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Hyattsville, Maryland, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed blood collected from adult participants in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2018.

Publishing their findings in an NCHS Data Brief, the investigators found that the proportion of U.S. adults who had evidence of past or present infection with HBV declined from 5.7% during 1999 to 2002 to 4.3% during 2015 to 2018. Between those two periods, the prevalence of HBV vaccination increased from 12.3% to 25.2%.

Men were more likely to have past or present HBV infection than women. Among racial groups, the highest prevalence was among Asians, at 21%, followed by African Americans, at 11%, Latinos, at 4%, and whites, at 2%.

Twelve percent of those born outside the United States had past or present HBV, compared with 2.5% of those born within the United States.

Twenty-eight percent of women and 22% of men were vaccinated. Among racial groups, Asians had the highest vaccination rate, at 31%.

The study is limited by the fact that the NHANES data do not include people who are institutionalized, incarcerated or experiencing homelessness. Other studies have found that these have higher hepatitis B rates than the population as a whole.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the CDC report, click here.