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J Formos Med Assoc. 2007 Feb;106(2):148-55.

Estimation of seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus in Taiwan from a large-scale survey of free hepatitis screening participants.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.



Taiwan is a hyperendemic area of liver diseases. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are the two major etiologies of liver diseases in Taiwan. This study investigated the seroprevalence of HBV and HCV in Taiwan.


Since 1996, a series of outreach community-based screening programs for liver diseases have been available to the general population aged > or = 18 years. Blood samples were obtained from the subjects and sent for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) tests.


The prevalence of HBsAg(+) was 17.3% (27,210/157,720), while the prevalence of anti-HCV(+) was 4.4% (6904/157,720). Geographic variation in HBV and HCV seroprevalence was found, with the highest anti-HCV positive rate in Miaoli County, Chiayi County, Chiayi City, and Yunlin County, and the highest HBsAg positive rate in Keelung City and Yilan City. The HBsAg positive rate progressively decreased after the age of 50 years, while the anti-HCV positive rate progressively increased after the age of 20 years. The estimated total number of HBsAg carriers in the general population > 20 years old is 3,067,307, while the estimated number of anti-HCV positive patients is 423,283.


This study estimated a 17.3% seroprevalence of HBV and a 4.4% seroprevalence of HCV in Taiwan. Significant geographic variations in the seroprevalence of HBV and HCV were found. These data suggest the importance of modifying programs for the prevention and treatment of chronic viral hepatitis in Taiwan to reflect its varying prevalence and epidemiology.

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