Viral hepatitis

Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, is caused by viruses including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol, some chemicals or drugs.

Hepatitis B and C represent important public health issues. If not treated they can lead to serious liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver cancer and in some cases, liver failure.

Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E are notifiable infectious diseases. Medical practitioners must follow the guidelines for notification of infectious diseases when attending a patient with known or suspected hepatitis.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Risk groups for hepatitis C include:

  • people who currently or have ever injected drugs
  • people who have ever been imprisoned; recipients of organs, tissues, blood or blood products (before February 1990 in Australia)
  • people with tattoos or body piercings 
  • people born in countries with high hepatitis C prevalence
  • Aboriginal people.

Effective new treatments (known as direct-acting antivirals or DAAs) for hepatitis C became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia on 1 March 2016.

Since then, other new hepatitis C treatments have become available on the PBS, including  the first pan-genotypic treatment regimen which was listed from 1 August 2017.

The Silver book features current clinical guidelines for managing hepatitis C.

Treatment uptake reports

The Department of Health has prepared a report to describe Hepatitis C treatment uptake in Western Australia (PDF 187KB). The report outlines the number of people in Western Australia who initiated DAA treatment for chronic hepatitis and describes the period from 1 March to 30 September 2016.

The Department of Health will continue to monitor and report on uptake of the new treatments.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus and can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable. Risk groups for hepatitis B include:

  • people from countries with a high prevalence of hepatitis B 
  • Aboriginal people 
  • children born to mothers with hepatitis B 
  • people who inject drugs 
  • people in custodial settings 
  • other unvaccinated people who may be at higher risk of infection

The Silver book features current clinical guidelines for managing hepatitis B, including information about hepatitis B vaccination.

Patient information

Information for patients about Hepatitis is available from:

More information

Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program

Address:
Grace Vaughan House
227 Stubbs Terrace, Shenton Park, WA 6008

Phone: 9388 4841 

Email: shbvvp.gvh@health.wa.gov.au