Hepatitis B is a leading cause of liver infection worldwide. The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) attacks the liver, causing lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death.1
- An estimated 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with HBV at some time in their lives2
- 350 million people have chronic (lifelong) infection, which puts them at a high risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver2
- Liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver cause about 1 million deaths per year worldwide2
- An estimated 1.25 million Americans have chronic hepatitis1
- An estimated 5000 Americans die from hepatitis B every year1
- In the U.S., new infections per year has declined from an average of 260,000 in the 1980s to about 73,000 in 20031
Transmission through blood and body fluids
Hepatitis B is a highly infectious, often non-symptomatic disease. It is transmitted by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person, including:2
- Sexual contact
- Sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection)
- Transfusions of infected blood or blood clotting factors
- Mother-to-child or child-to-child contact
Early detection improves blood safety
The current overall risk of acquiring hepatitis B after a transfusion is about one in 50,000 per recipient. However, donors who are in the early incubation stage of their disease, capable of transmitting HBV, remain unidentified with current techniques.2
The PROCLEIX® ULTRIO® Assay* detects HIV-1, HCV and HBV in a single tube.
By detecting viral nucleic acids directly, the PROCLEIX® ULTRIO® Assay greatly shortens the "window period" of potential transfusion-transmitted infection found in other screening technologies that detect seriological markers.
Projection for HIV-1, HCV and HVB indicate a 42 percent to 70 percent reduction in the window period between infection and detection using nucleic acid testing.3
Few treatment options
There is no specific treatment for acute viral hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B may be treated with antiviral drugs.1 2 However, many of those infected in developing countries do not have access to these drugs.
Vaccine best prevention
Hepatitis B is preventable with safe, effective vaccines that have been available since 1982. Condom use and not sharing needles and syringes are other ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis B.1
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website - Viral Hepatitis B page. Accessed Aug. 5, 2005.
2. World Health Organization - Hepatitis B page. Accessed Aug. 5, 2005.
3. Schreiber GB, Busch MP, Kleinman SH, Korelitz JJ. The Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Viral Infections. N Engl J Med. June 27, 1996;445:1685-90.
CE Marked. Not available for commercial sale in the U.S. PROCLEIX and ULTRIO are trademarks of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.
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