A silent global epidemic that has infected 370 million people and is responsible for almost 1 million deaths annually.
1. Despite there being a vaccine, Hepatitis B Virus(HBV) infection kills one person every 30-45 seconds.
2. Most of the people who are infected (almost two-thirds) are unaware of their infection and this has resulted in the silent HBV infection becoming one of the biggest threat to the health of the world.
3. HBV is about 10 times more prevalent than HIV infection worldwide. HIV is more prevalent in Africa, HPV is more prevalent in Asia.
4. The general perception is that HIV virus is very infectious and contagious however Hepatitis B Virus is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
5. If not properly monitored or treated HBV infection can kill 25% of the infected people due to liver cancer or liver failure from cirrhosis.
6. Hepatitis C is caused by another lethal virus like HBV and infects about 180 million people worldwide. There is no cure from this infection and there is no vaccine that has been developed.
7. HBV and Hepatitis C together have infected 530 million of the 6 billion people worldwide.
8. Pregnant women who have hepatitis B infection or those who are carriers of hepatitis B virus can pass this infection to their babies when they are born.
9. Individuals with high risk of infection with HBV include - illegal injection of drugs, haemophiliacs, homosexual and bisexual males, sexually active heterosexual persons with multiple partners, prisoners, patients on haemodialysis, health care staff who have needle stick injury and people who indulge in body piercing and tattooing. Certain world population have a higher incidence and include - Alaskan Eskimos, Pacific Islanders, Haitian and Indo-chinese immigrants. Travellers to these regions should take all the precautions.
10. Hepatitis B recombinant vaccine is a very safe vaccine as it has no human blood or blood products and it is produced by genetic re-engineering process and usually requires three injections for protection over a six months period.