5 Key Facts: Spotlight on Hepatitis B
Of the many viruses known to cause hepatitis, the hepatitis B virus (HBV) inﬂicts the heaviest public health burden. People infected with HBV are between 50 and 100 times more infectious (to others) than those infected with HIV. Further, the HBV virus is capable of remaining viable for over one week on contaminated environmental surfaces. Read the full WHO State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization Report here.
- More than 350 million people in the world today have chronic hepatitis B infection, according to a WHO estimate
- People infected with HBV are between 50 and 100 times more infectious (to others) than those infected with HIV.
- About 90% of infants infected during the ﬁrst year of life develop chronic infection, compared with 30% of children infected between one and four years, and less than 5% of people infected as adults
- In 1982, the ﬁrst hepatitis B vaccine – the ﬁrst vaccine against a human cancer – became available. Over the next decade, studies showed that the vaccine could protect about 95% of recipients from HBV infection.
- The advent of the GAVI Alliance in 2000 helped to erode the ﬁnancial obstacles to introducing the vaccine, at least for the poorer countries of the world. By the end of 2007, 171 of WHO’s 193 Member States were using the vaccine in their infant
Read the full WHO State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization Report here.