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Posts Tagged ‘research study’

Universal HepB Vaccination Provides Long-Term Protection

June 21, 2012 13 comments

In the past, there has been quite a lot of discussion on this blog regarding the Hepatitis B vaccine that is recommended for infants here in the U.S.  Because of this, I wanted to point out an interesting Reuters Health article I read today regarding a new study that was conducted in Taiwan, a country that has historically battled high rates of Hepatitis B infection.

Unfortunately, Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and spreads by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person.  According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, an estimated 350 million people worldwide have the hepatitis B virus and approximately 100,000 new people are infected each year in the United States alone.  In fact, one in twenty people in the U.S. have been exposed to Hepatitis B. 

Since Hepatitis B infection is a prime cause of liver cancer, and the second most common cancer type in Taiwan, the country began mandating immunization for all infants as of 1984.  Interestingly enough, the current research findings reinforce five previous surveys since 1984, that all found lower infections among those born after the mandate.  In 2009, study participants younger than age 25 were far less likely to be infected than those between the ages of 26 and 30 — who were born before universal vaccination.

As detailed in a recent Reuters Health article, the new study funded by the National Taiwan University Hospital, enrolled more than 3,300 participants under 30. Of these subjects, more than 2,900 — born after the mandate — received at least three doses of vaccine in their first year. Approximately 370 subjects, born before 1984, were not universally vaccinated.  After collecting blood samples throughout 2009, the research team found that less than one percent of the universally vaccinated group carried the virus and were infectious to others, compared with 10 percent of those who weren’t universally vaccinated.  The research also suggests that booster doses were unnecessary, since the infection rate did not increase significantly from 1989 to 2009. Read more…