Thanks to recent outbreaks of hepatitis A virus (HAV), health experts are stressing that people with hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV) should be vaccinated against hep A, Healio reports. People with HBV and HCV are particularly vulnerable in the face of HAV because they may have compromised liver health.

All three viruses attack the liver. There are vaccines for HAV and HBV. HAV typically resolves on its own over time but may prompt the need for medical care. HBV is treatable. There is no vaccine for HCV, but it is curable.

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, all those with HCV should be vaccinated against HBV. Additionally, health care providers should consider providing the HAV vaccine to those with HBV and HCV.

Publishing their findings in a commentary in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers reviewed data from various data sources, including national surveys as well as observational studies like the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Of the individuals included in this data set, 32.6 percent of those with HBV and 33.6 percent of those with HCV had never been tested for HAV. As for those who had been tested for hep A, a respective 58.9 percent and 39.2 percent of those with hep B and C had hep A. Of those who tested negative for hep A, a respective 60.4 percent and 62 percent of those with hep B and C never got a follow-up hep A vaccination.

To read the Healio article, click here.

To read the study, click here.