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 is preventable with an effective vaccine and treatable with effective medications. For the more than 240 million people worldwide who are already chronically infected with hepatitis B, the vaccine is of no use. The future, however, is very bright with the increasing momentum around finding a true cure for chronic hepatitis B, which is being led in part by the Hepatitis B Foundation.
Hepatitis B In the World
- 2 billion people have been infected (1 out of 3 people).
- 240 million people are chronically infected.
- 10-30 million will become infected each year.
- Up to 1 million people die each year from hepatitis B and its complications such as liver cancer.
- Approximately 2 people die each minute from hepatitis B related complications.
Hepatitis B In the United States
- 12 million Americans have been infected (1 out of 20 people).
- Up to 2 million Americans are chronically infected .
- Up to 40,000 people will become newly infected each year.
- Thousands of people will die each year from hepatitis B and its complications.