Friday, April 18, 2014

Hepatitis B vaccine 95% effective in reducing cancer, other ailments – physician

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The doctor said that HBV vaccination is 95 per cent effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences.

A medical practitioner based in Abuja, Abiodun Ajayi, has called on Nigerians to adhere to WHO’s recommendation of Hepatitis B Virus, HBV vaccination to reduce cancer cases.

Part of the recommendation states that all infants receive the HBV vaccine within the first 24 hours of life. Mr. Ajayi said in Abuja on Friday that Hepatitis B virus was more infectious than HIV and AIDS virus.

He explained that the HBV vaccination is 95 per cent effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences, adding that it is the first vaccine against human cancer.

He said the modes of transmission are the same as those for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, but the HBV is 50 to 100 times more infectious.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and could cause both acute and chronic disease.

The virus can also be transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

Mr. Ajayi said the vaccine is the mainstay of HBV prevention, stressing that the WHO had recommended that all infants received the vaccine.

He said the vaccine could be given as either three or four separate doses, as part of existing routine immunisation schedules.

“In areas where mother-to-infant spread of the hepatitis B virus is common, the first dose of vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth, within 24 hours,” he said.

The doctor said that the complete vaccine series induces protective antibody levels in more than 95 per cent of infants, children and young adults, with a lifelong protection possibility.

He said that all children and adolescents younger than 18 years old and not previously vaccinated should receive the vaccine.

Mr. Ajayi said that vaccination is important for persons in high risk groups such as people with high-risk sexual behaviour, partners and household contacts of infected people.

Others are injecting drug users, people who frequently require blood or blood products, recipients of solid organ transplantation and those at occupational risk of hepatitis B virus infection.

Mr. Ajayi said that persons traveling out of the county with high prevalence of Hepatitis B should be vaccinated as this could be life saving.

Over 20 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus and about 600,000 people die every year due to the consequences of HBV.

 

NAN

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