Hep B infections in kids below 1%

HEPATITIS B infections in the Western Pacific region have been cut to less than 1% of children, largely attributed to effective immunisation programs, the World Health Organisation says.
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Dr Takeshi Kasai

Staff Reporter

"However, to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of this disease by 2030, additional hepatitis B interventions for mothers and children are needed," WHO cautions.
WHO says hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and causes nearly 900,000 deaths around the world each year, mostly from liver cirrhosis, cancer and other complications.
"Vaccination provides lifelong protection against hepatitis B and the associated risk of disease. WHO recommends that all children receive a first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth, followed by at least two more doses within the first year of their lives."
WHO goes on to say that historically, the WHO Western Pacific region has had the world's highest prevalence of chronic hepatitis B infection, but countries are taking strong measures to turn this trend around.
"In 1990, over 8% of children at least five years of age in the region had chronic hepatitis B infection. In 2013, countries in the Region set a bold WHO-recommended target: to reduce this figure below 1% by 2017. This target was globally set for 2020, but was accomplished in 2017 with five-year-old children having a prevalence of 0.93%."
"We're very proud that this goal has been met - well ahead of the 2020 deadline - and congratulate the efforts of the countries and areas in the Region," WHO regional director Dr Takeshi Kasai said.