Inadequate awareness of hepatitis C among nonspecialist physicians in China
Bo Feng1, Jin Zhang2, Lai Wei1
1Hepatology Institute, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 2DXY.cn, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
Background/purpose: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem and can cause severe liver disease. The public has little understanding of hepatitis C. Therefore, a survey was performed to investigate the awareness of nonspecialists in China of hepatitis C.
Methods: A questionnaire on hepatitis C was publicized on the medical community site DXY.cn from April 15 to July 15, 2009. The questionnaire included ten questions and covered the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hepatitis C.
Results: About 1362 physicians from various regions, hospitals, and departments in China took part in the survey. Eleven percent mistakenly believed that the disease was not transmitted from mother to infant, by sharing a needle or syringe, by sharing a razor or toothbrush, or by having sex with a partner with HCV infection. Sixty-two percent did not regard anti-HCV antibody detection as a routine procedure for hospitals. Forty-four percent of respondents indicated that they would not advise a patient who tested positive for anti-HCV antibody to consult a specialist. Seventy-one percent thought that hepatitis C was incurable or had a very low cure rate. Nearly 50% thought that there were no effective treatments for hepatitis C.
Conclusion: Chinese nonspecialists have a little understanding of hepatitis C, which may have a negative effect on the prevention and treatment of hepatitis C.
Keywords: awareness, nonspecialist, hepatitis C, China