Preventing hepatitis B virus infection: milestones and targets

Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Volume 96, Number 7, July 2018, 441-512
http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/7/en/

EDITORIALS
Preventing hepatitis B virus infection: milestones and targets
– Yvan Hutin, Shalini Desai & Marc Bulterys
http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.18.215210
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. In this issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, a systematic review and meta-analysis1 assesses the long-term impact of immunization of infants against hepatitis B on the prevalence of HBV infection. The findings from this study point to three major conclusions. First, hepatitis B vaccine is effective in preventing HBV infection among infants and has a major impact on the prevalence of HBV infection more than 15 years later. Second, universal immunization of infants, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO),2 has more impact on a population level (reducing prevalence by three fourths) than targeted immunization of children born to mothers who have HBV infection (which reduces prevalence by two thirds). Third, the results of this analysis, along with recent reports of increasing coverage of hepatitis B vaccine worldwide,3 suggest that in an increasing number of countries, new generations are growing up increasingly free of HBV infection…