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COVID-19 risks for people living with chronic liver conditions

12 March 2020

Hepatitis Victoria/LiverWELL® is joining Hepatitis Australia to provide people living with hepatitis B and hepatitis C information about how the recently emerged COVID-19 infection may impact them.

Hepatitis Victoria/LiverWELL® Board member and Doherty Institute Epidemiologist, Jennifer MacLachlan said that many people living with chronic conditions, including liver disease due to hepatitis B or hepatitis C, could be at greater risk of serious health complications if they become infected with COVID-19.

“While the information provided follows the general guidelines provided by the Australian Government, we’ve taken the opportunity to include some specific advice for people impacted by hepatitis B and hepatitis C,” she said.

“In particular, if you’ve had hepatitis B or hepatitis C for some time and have developed advanced liver disease (including cirrhosis), it is important to be aware that you are more susceptible to developing a more severe form of COVID-19,” she said.

“This applies even if you had hepatitis C in the past which has now been cured but you still have cirrhosis.”

Some simple tips include making sure you have enough medication on hand so you don’t need to go out unnecessarily, and arranging to get the regular flu vaccine as soon as it is available. The current situation could also be a good reminder to consider asking your doctor for a liver health check if you haven’t had one in the last six months.

There’s also some advice and practical tips if you are caring for someone with a chronic condition like viral hepatitis, such as being particularly vigilant with handwashing and other infection precautions.

A detailed fact sheet has been prepared and will be updated with any necessary changes.


 
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