Preventing Hepatitis B
The leading cause of liver cancer globally, hepatitis B, is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. The virus spreads when blood, semen, or other body fluid from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. The major routes of transmission are from mother to infant (perinatal), child to child (non-sexual person-to-person contact), sexual contact, and percutaneous exposure (through blood, sharing needles or syringes and drug-injection equipment) to blood or other infectious body fluids.
The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to be fully vaccinated. The World Health Organization recommends vaccinating babies within 24 hours of birth, followed by 2 to 3 additional doses within 6 months. Globally, chronic hepatitis B affects approximately 296 million people and contributes to an estimated 800,000 deaths every year.
CDC’s work to prevent hepatitis B
CDC provides scientific and technical support to help partners and countries decrease the burden of hepatitis B infection.
Documenting the magnitude of the problem and the impact of hepatitis B vaccination
- Conduct surveys to evaluate the prevalence of hepatitis B among children, estimating the impact of hepatitis B vaccination, and measuring progress toward hepatitis B control/elimination goals. Surveys have been completed in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, South Pacific Islands, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Conduct surveys to assess the burden of hepatitis B in pregnant women. Surveys have been completed in Ghana, Haiti, and Nigeria to guide vaccination policy.
- Assess the burden of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B in Africa to inform hepatitis B vaccine birth dose introduction.
Improving coverage of hepatitis B vaccine birth dose
- Implement and evaluate a package of interventions to improve hepatitis B vaccine access and demand in Nigeria and Vietnam.
- Evaluate best practices for using hepatitis B birth dose vaccine in a controlled temperature chain in rural Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
- Evaluate the impact of providing cell phones to village health volunteers to improve timely reporting of new home births and the program’s effect on hepatitis B birth dose administration in Lao PDR.
- Evaluate and improve hepatitis B birth dose implementation in health facilities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea.
- Evaluate selective hepatitis B birth dose vaccination in Sao Tome and Principe, a program assessment and cost-effectiveness study that informed a policy to provide hepatitis B birth dose to all newborns.
Support introduction of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination
- Contribute to the global hepatitis B birth dose introduction guidelines.external icon
- Compile evidence on the burden of hepatitis B infection among pregnant women and estimate the risk of mother-to-child transmission in African countries without a hepatitis B birth dose to inform decision-makers why a hepatitis B vaccine for newborns is needed.
- Support subnational introduction of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination in Ethiopia to inform national scale up and costing.
- Participate in post-introduction assessments of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination to improve program performance and prevent hepatitis B infections.
Support verification of achievement of hepatitis B control and elimination goals
- Contribute to the development of:
- Participate in regional verification commissions or expert working groups to review country reports and assess whether countries have achieved regional hepatitis B control/elimination goals.
Diagnostics and innovations
- Evaluate the accuracy of rapid field-testing methods against the standard of ELISA lab-based testing.
- Evaluate new methods for hepatitis B testing for possible integration with tests for other vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Evaluate a hepatitis B microneedle patch vaccine-delivery system.
- Recent Publications:
- Hepatitis B surface antigen seroprevalence among children in the Philippinesexternal icon.
- Social and behavioral determinants of attitudes towards and practices of hepatitis B vaccine birth dose in Vietnamexternal icon.
- Progress toward hepatitis B control — South-East Asia Region, 2016–2019.
- An approach for preparing and responding to adverse events following immunization reported after hepatitis B vaccine birth dose administrationexternal icon.
- Prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection among children in Haiti, 2017external icon.
- Progress toward hepatitis B control and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus — Western Pacific Region, 2005–2017.
- The status of hepatitis B control in the African Regionexternal icon.
- Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose coverage correlates worldwide with rates of institutional deliveries and skilled attendance at birthexternal icon.
- Improving hepatitis B birth dose coverage through village health volunteer training and pregnant women educationexternal icon.
- Evaluation of storing hepatitis B vaccine outside the cold chain in the Solomon Islands: identifying opportunities and barriers to implementationexternal icon.
- Hepatitis B virus infection among pregnant women in Haiti: a cross-sectional serosurveyexternal icon.
- Improving hepatitis B birth dose in rural Lao People’s Democratic Republic through the use of mobile phones to facilitate communicationexternal icon.
- Progress towards achieving hepatitis B control in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and Kiribatiexternal icon.
- Hepatitis B vaccine stored outside the cold chain setting: a pilot study in rural Lao PDRexternal icon.
- Hepatitis B vaccination coverage and prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen among children in French Polynesia, 2014external icon.
- Around the Web:
- CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis (information on hepatitis B and CDC’s work in viral hepatitis globally)
- Building a Community of Practice to Assist HepB Birth Dose Introduction in African Countriesexternal icon
- World Hepatitis Allianceexternal icon
- World Health Organizationexternal icon (information on hepatitis B, including the Hepatitis B Fact Sheetexternal icon)