- In the United States, an estimated 130,000 people become infected with HBV each year.- An estimated 1.4 million Americans are chronically infected with HBV. Over half are API Americans.
5000 people die each year from HBV related liver cancer or cirrhosis with liver failure.
- Medical and work loss costs
for HBV-related conditions total more than $700 million per year in the United States.
- More than 2/3 of HBV cases have no symptoms - or unrecognized symptoms - so most people
who become chronically infected never know it.
- If symptoms develop, they are often mistaken for those of influenza -
fever, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Jaundice (the yellow dis oloration of eyes and
skin), which is usually a sign of liver damage, may not occur.
|Age of Infection
||% of those infected who become chronic carriers|
The Relationship between HBV and Liver Cancer - A Silent Killer
- To reiterate, the greatest health disparity between Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans
is liver cancer, 80% of which is caused by chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
out of 4 people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection who became chronically infected during childhood (in other words,
approximately 100 million of the 400 million chronic HBV infected people in the world) will die of HBV-related liver cancer
- Liver cancer is often fatal because when the cancer is small, there are no symptoms and thus, the diagnosis
is generally made quite late.
- Liver cancer can occur in those with chronic HBV infection without cirrhosis; the risk
is higher with cirrhosis, in men (3:1 male to female ratio), and with a family history of liver cancer.
- Liver cancer
usually develops between 35 and 65 years of age, when people are maximally productive and with family responsibilities.
An estimated 550,000 people each year die of liver cancer; 360,000 deaths each year are from countries in Eastern Asia alone
(China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea)
- Liver cancer is one of the top three causes of death by cancer in most of Asia, the
Pacific, and sub-Saharan Africa, and at least 80% of liver cancer is caused by HBV. Worldwide, liver cancer is the fourth
leading cause of cancer death in men, although uncommon in North America and Europe.
Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones is Easy - Get Vaccinated
- HBV infection, especially during infancy and early childhood, is easy to prevent
with the hepatitis B vaccine. Since 80% of liver cancer is HBV-related, the vaccine is considered the first 'anti-cancer vaccine.'
Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and has been given to over 500 million people in the world.
- When given in infants within
12 hours of birth and at 2 months and 6 months, completion of the three-dose vaccine series induces a protective antibody
response in 95% to 99% of vaccinated infants, even when the mother is a hepatitis B carrier. In addition, a direct reduction
in liver cancer in cohorts of immunized children has already been demonstrated in Taiwan.
- Post-vaccination testing for
immunity is not necessary after routine vaccination of infants, children, adolescents, or adults. Testing for immunity (anti-HBs)
at 9-15 months of age after completing the series at 6 months of age is advised for infants born to mothers who are infected
with HBV. Testing 1-2 months after completing the series is advised for healthcare workers, and persons with HIV infection.
No booster shot is necessary after completion of the three-dose series.
Vaccination Programs Must Target High-Risk API Children
- All newborns and children under 19 years of age in the United States are recommended to
receive hepatitis B vaccination, particularly API children.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is free for children under 19 years of
age through the federal Vaccines for Children program.
- Hepatitis B vaccination coverage among the high-risk API American
children is an ongoing challenge. Completion rates for the first dose was 25-80% and for the three-dose series was only 14-67%
in a 1998 survey of API children 4-14 years of age in six major U.S. cities.The cities with no vaccination programs targeting
API children have the worst completion rates. Only one in ten API children now ages 15-19 have received their 3-dose hepatitis
B vaccine series, in spite of national recommendations targeting these chi dren dating as far back as 1982.