Chronic hepatitis B virus infection in Italy during the twenty-first century: an updated survey in 2019

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The aim of this study is to provide updates on the characteristics of chronic HBsAg carriers in Italy before the advent of new drugs eliminating or functionally inactivating the genome HBV reservoirs. HBV endemicity has greatly decreased in Italy over the past decades. A not negligible number of chronic HBsAg carriers are still alive in the country. Chronic HBsAg carriers consecutively referring to 9 units in Italy were prospectively enrolled for a 6-month period in 2019. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of treatment. A total of 894 cases was recruited (sex ratio 1.6; mean age 53.7 ± 13.5 years). The proportion of subjects born abroad was 19.0%; only 1% of cases reported current heavy alcohol intake (> 4 units/day). Chronic HBV infection, chronic HBV hepatitis, and subjects with liver cirrhosis and/or HCC represented 24.8%, 55%, and 19.3% of cases, respectively. After exclusion of the 222 subjects with chronic HBV infection, the proportion of subjects under therapy was as high as 89.3%. A more severe liver disease (OR 2.52; 95% CI = 1.25–5.14) resulted an independent predictor of the likelihood of treatment; male sex was marginally associated (OR 1.67; 95% CI = 1.02–2.76) to the chance of treatment. People born abroad had same chance than Italians native to be treated (OR 2.12; 95% CI = 0.9–4.97). The high proportion of subjects under treatment and the absence of gender and ethnic barrier against treatment sound good news. These updated figures may represent reference data for evaluating the potential impact of forthcoming new therapy against HBV-related disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Antiviral treatment
  • HBsAg carriers
  • HBV endemicity
  • HBV infection
  • HBV vaccination programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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