Beginning of the end of hepatitis B in Australia?

Beginning of the end of hepatitis B in Australia?
Hepatitis B virus in between human cells.

(Medical Xpress)—A newborn vaccination program first introduced for Aboriginal babies in the Northern Territory has made significant inroads, significantly helping in the push to eradicate chronic hepatitis B infection in Australia.

Researchers from UNSW's Kirby Institute and the Northern Territory's Department of Health have published a study in the international journal Vaccine that shows rates of infection are 80 per cent lower in young Aboriginal women born since the program began in 1988, compared to those born before the program began.

In Aboriginal women from remote communities, the decrease has seen rates fall from five per cent to one per cent, the study, conducted by UNSW's Kirby Institute in collaboration with the Northern Territory Department of Health, shows.

Researchers say it may be expected that a similar decline will be seen in other Australian states and territories once children vaccinated from 2000 onwards become old enough to be included in hepatitis B testing programs.

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening infection that causes liver cirrhosis, and .

The study findings highlight the importance of immunisation programs in preventing chronic diseases such as hepatitis B, the researchers say.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hepatitis B and liver cancer among Asian Americans

Jun 21, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Liver cancer is expected to become more common in the United States in coming years.  “It’s deadly and it’s preventable,” says UCSF physician and researcher Tung ...

Recommended for you

West Africa seals off Ebola outbreak epicentre

1 hour ago

West Africa's Ebola-hit nations announced a cross-border isolation zone on Friday, sealing off the epicentre of the world's worst-ever outbreak as health chiefs warned the epidemic was spiralling out of control.

STDs on the rise in Miami area

6 hours ago

Rates of both chlamydia and syphilis in Miami-Dade have nearly doubled since 2006, according to new statistics from the Florida Department of Health.

User comments