Authors

Rose Kamenwa

Document Type

Article

Department

Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)

Abstract

Approximately 350 – 400 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV ), and approximately 1 million die annually of HBV -related disease. The worldwide prevalence of hepatitis B virus ranges from 0.1% to 20%). This wide range is largely due to differences in age at the time of infection. Following acute HBV infection, the risk of developing chronic infection varies inversely with age: 90% for perinatal infection, 25–35% for infection at age 1–5 years and less than 10% for adults. About 45% of the world population live in areas where chronic HBV is highly endemic (≥8% of the population are hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive), 43% live in intermediate-endemicity areas (2–7% HBsAg-positive) and 12% live in low-endemicity areas (0.6% to <2% HBsAg-positive). In the WHO European Region the HBsAg sero-prevalence ranges from 0.3% to 12% with up to 3.5 million carriers. Central Asian republics and parts of Eastern Europe are high endemic areas. Intermediately endemic areas include eastern and southern Europe and the Russian Federation, while northern and Western Europe are low endemic areas. More than 2 000 million people alive today have been infected with HBV at some time in their lives. Three quarters of the world’s population live in areas where there are high levels of infection. Every year there are over 4 million acute clinical cases of HBV , and about 25% of carriers, 1 million people a year, die from chronic active hepatitis, cirrhosis or primary liver cancer. In developing countries the majority of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV ) infection is acquired in early infancy or childhood. The acute infection often goes unrecognized and most of the morbidity and mortality from this disease occurs many years later. This has resulted in failure of appreciation of the full impact of this disease. Currently, effective, affordable treatment for Hepatitis B disease is not available. Immunization is the mainstay for prevention and control of the disease.

Publication

Ministry of Health Immunization manual

Included in

Pediatrics Commons

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