Bridging the Gap: Transforming Knowledge into Action
July 8-12, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 - 3:30 PM 220-1
Global progress in the prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma by universal childhood hepatitis B immunization
Steven T. Wiersma, MD, MPH, Dept of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, 20, Avenue Appia, Geneva, 1211, Switzerland
Objective: To describe global progress with universal childhood hepatitis B immunization as a highly effective means of preventing hepatocellular carcinoma. Methods: Program data and country experience were used to assess progress in meeting program goals. Results: Evidence from countries that have achieved high coverage of vaccination shows that chronic hepatitis B infection and subsequent sequelae such as hepatocellular carcinoma will be prevented. The availability of the first vaccine against cancer to the majority of the world's children is having a significant impact on the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma. Universal infant immunization has protected millions of persons from developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Countries that have implemented these strategies are documenting a dramatic reduction in chronic hepatitis B infection and mortality due to hepatocellular carcinoma. As global coverage reaches targets and other preventive behaviors are adopted, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma and consequent mortality can be expected to fall dramatically.