TAIPEI, Taiwan-Health officials in Taiwan are patting themselves on the back after research revealed universal vaccinations against hepatitis B has significantly decreased rates of the infectious disease.
Presented in an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, officials from National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei examined two groups during their research. More than 1300 children under the age of 15 were screened for hepatitis B. Within the group, 0.7% were infected. In comparison, a group of people aged 15-20 were screened and found to have a 7% infection rate.
Universal vaccinations against the viral disease were implemented before the first group was born, significantly limiting the number of chronic carriers of hepatitis B.
However, health officials pragmatically noted that the country is still suffering from an epidemic of the disease and will continue to fight the virus until the entire population can be vaccinated before given the opportunity to become infected.
There are now more than 110 countries globally that have implemented mass vaccination programs to combat hepatitis B. All children in the US are supposed to be vaccinated against the virus at birth, however still more than 80,000 Americans are estimated to be infected with the disease.
Information from www.givenimaging.com, www.cdc.gov