Hepatitis B, the silent killer

Hepatitis B, the silent killer

26 July 2013

This week is Hepatitis B Awareness Week and Northern Sydney Medicare Local is providing information to the community about this silent killer, due to rates of the disease being higher in local migrant residents.

An estimated 1.35%1 of the population served by Northern Sydney Medicare Local (NSML)* is believed to be living with chronic hepatitis B.

The disease, which can lead to liver cancer or liver cirrhosis, is six to 12 times more likely to be diagnosed in people who were born in highly endemic areas such as Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia and China, compared to non-indigenous Australians.

The disease is referred to as the silent disease because many of those infected do not have symptoms according to the Cancer Council who run the NSW Hepatitis B Positive program.

Northern Sydney Medicare Local is working with the Cancer Council to raise awareness amongst Healthcare providers and the local Community about the disease and the support programs available.

According to NSML Director General Practice, Ms Cynthia Stanton, early diagnosis and management of the condition is key, The only way that hepatitis B can be determined is with a hepatitis B blood test which your Doctor can perform.

For people diagnosed with the condition, their Doctor can refer them to the Cancer Council Hepatitis B Positive program. This program provides education on the disease and helps create personalised healthcare plans to look after their health and their family, said Ms Stanton.

Hepatitis B is spread through blood-to-blood contact and can be transmitted through contact with open cuts or sores or sexual activity.

For more information on hepatitis B visit www.nsml.com.au/resourcecentre

* NSML catchment area covers Hornsby, Ryde, Ku-ring-gai and Hunters Hill local council areas.

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About Northern Sydney Medicare Local
Northern Sydney Medicare Local (NSML) is a local not-for-profit health organisation working to make it easier for people in Hornsby, Ryde, Ku-ring-gai and Hunters Hill to access the health services they need. For moreinformation on Northern Sydney Medicare Local, visit www.nsml.com.au.

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