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Health Reports, November 2013

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Released: 2013-11-20

Study: Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections: Results from the 2007 to 2009 and 2009 to 2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey

According to a study in this month's Health Reports based on data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), 30% of the population aged 14 to 79 had vaccine-induced immunity to hepatitis B, with the highest rates (more than two-thirds) among those aged 14 to 24. This largely reflects implementation of universal hepatitis B vaccination programs, which targeted infants and school-aged children in the early to mid-1990s.

The CHMS is an ongoing survey conducted by Statistics Canada in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada.

Based on data for 2007 to 2011, this study presents the first direct measurement of the national prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death.

The study also examined infection awareness. Because hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections may initially present few or no symptoms, people may not be aware of their infection status until tested. According to the study, more than half of people with laboratory-confirmed hepatitis B and 70% with laboratory-confirmed hepatitis C were unaware of their infections.

About 111,000 Canadians (0.4% of the population aged 14 to 79) had laboratory evidence of present hepatitis B infection, and an estimated 139,000 (0.5% of the same age group) had hepatitis C.

In addition to the people currently infected, about 1.2 million people (4.2% of the population aged 14 to 79) had evidence of a previous hepatitis B infection from which most recovered and developed protective immunity.

Canadian hepatitis levels are generally in line with those in other developed countries.

The article "Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections: Results from the 2007 to 2009 and 2009 to 2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey" in the November 2013 issue of Health Reports, Vol. 24, no. 11 (Catalogue number82-003-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications. For more information on this article, contact Michelle Rotermann (613-951-3166;, Health Analysis Division.

Also released today is "Longitudinal trajectories of sleep duration in the general population." For more information on this article, contact Heather Gilmour (613-951-2114;, Health Analysis Division.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

For information about Health Reports, contact Janice Felman (613-951-6446;, Health Analysis Division.

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