Most healthy adults (90%) who are infected will recover and develop protective antibodies against future hepatitis B infections. A small number (5-10%) will be unable to get rid of the virus and will develop chronic infections. Unfortunately, this is not true for infants and young children – 90% of infants and up to 50% of young children infected with hepatitis B will develop chronic infections. Therefore, vaccination is essential to protect infants and children.
Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus, yet it can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. For the 400 million people worldwide who are already chronically infected with hepatitis B, the vaccine is of no use. The future, however, is much brighter with the current advances in drug development and treatment options.
Hepatitis B In the World
- 2 billion people have been infected (1 out of 3 people).
- 400 million people are chronically infected.
- 10-30 million will become infected each year.
- An estimated 1 million people die each year from hepatitis B and its complications.
- Approximately 2 people die each minute from hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B In the United States
- 12 million Americans have been infected (1 out of 20 people).
- More than one million people are chronically infected .
- Up to 40,000 new people will become infected each year.
- 5,000 people will die each year from hepatitis B and its complications.
- Approximately 1 health care worker dies each day from hepatitis B.