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News

COVID-19 risks for people living with chronic liver conditions

March 11, 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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LiverWELL, incorporating Hepatitis Victoria, champions the interests of people affected by or at risk of viral hepatitis and liver disease.

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