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J Med Virol. 2002 Jul;67(3):447-50.

Prevention and control of hepatitis B in China.

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Cancer Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Panjiayuan, Beijing, China.


About 170 million Chinese are infected chronically with HBV and 10% suffer from chronic hepatitis. Around half a million Chinese die from hepatitis B caused hepatocellular carcinoma and endstage cirrhosis each year. From 1983 to the present, a controlled clinical trial involving 80,000 children on a universal hepatitis B vaccination programme to prevent chronic hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and endstage cirrhosis was implemented in Qidong, China. A pilot study demonstrated that the HBsAg rate reached the adult level before the fifth year of age, and neonatal vaccination with either plasma-derived or recombinant hepatitis B vaccines provided a similar 75% protective efficacy against HBV infection. The high rate of follow-up and blood tests coverage of the cohorts provided data to show 75% protection at the tenth to eleventh years of age against serum HBsAg and also against prolonged hepatic dysfunction. The strategy of controlling hepatitis B nationwide was based on the universal immunisation of newborns, beginning in cities and then the rural areas. The large-scale vaccine source was provided by domestic plants through technology transfer, first providing plasma-derived vaccine replaced completely by recombinant DNA vaccine in 1997. An official survey in 1999 using a cluster sampling of 25,878 children from 31 provinces reported an average coverage rate of three dose of hepatitis B vaccination of 70.7%, being higher in urban areas. The Ministry of Public Health of China has planned to integrate hepatitis B vaccination into the nationwide EPI program with Government-provided vaccines starting January 1, 2002.

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