Migrants from hepatitis B virus (HBV) endemic countries to the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) comprise 5.1% of the total EU/EEA population but account for 25% of total chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) infection. Migrants from high HBV prevalence regions are at the highest risk for CHB morbidity. These migrants are at risk of late detection of CHB complications; mortality and onwards transmission. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of CHB screening and vaccination programs among migrants to the EU/EEA. We found no RCTs or direct evidence evaluating the effectiveness of CHB screening on morbidity and mortality of migrants. We therefore used a systematic evidence chain approach to identify studies relevant to screening and prevention programs; testing, treatment, and vaccination. We identified four systematic reviews and five additional studies and guidelines that reported on screening and vaccination effectiveness. Studies reported that vaccination programs were highly effective at reducing the prevalence of CHB in children (RR 0.07 95% CI 0.04 to 0.13) following vaccination. Two meta-analyses of therapy for chronic HBV infection found improvement in clinical outcomes and intermediate markers of disease. We identified nine studies examining the cost-effectiveness of screening for CHB: a strategy of screening and treating CHB compared to no screening. The median acceptance of HB screening was 87.4% (range 32.3-100%). Multiple studies highlighted barriers to and the absence of effective strategies to ensure linkage of treatment and care for migrants with CHB. In conclusion, screening of high-risk children and adults and vaccination of susceptible children, combined with treatment of CHB infection in migrants, are promising and cost-effective interventions, but linkage to treatment requires more attention.
Europe All age groups Economic aspects Efficacy/effectiveness Hepatitis B