Enhanced surveillance for newly acquired hepatitis C: Information for the General Practitioner

By law, all new diagnoses of hepatitis C infection must be reported to the local State or Territory Health Department. Enhanced hepatitis C surveillance involves the collection of additional information in cases of recently acquired infection, primarily related to how hepatitis C infection was acquired and why the person underwent testing. It can also be used to obtain information that should have been provided under routine surveillance but is sometimes incomplete, such as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander status.

The GP is often the primary point of contact with the health care system and has the expertise to obtain sensitive information through careful history taking. Any patient diagnosed as having become hepatitis C antibody positive within the past two years is considered to have newly acquired infection, and is therefore a candidate to be reported under enhanced surveillance. Each State and Territory Health Department has slightly different procedures, but all have a standard notification form that can be used to report the necessary information about cases of recently acquired hepatitis C infection.