Cuba eradicates hepatitis B among children under 15
Cuba has eliminated viral hepatitis B among children less than 15 years of age thanks to the mass immunization campaigns undertaken by the island’s health authorities.
According to Health Ministry officials, there has been no report of a single case of Hepatitis B in children in the last 23 years, largely thanks to a locally developed vaccine, which has been administered to every Cuban newborn since 1992.
The vaccine, Heberbiovac HB, is produced by the Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana and is being exported to some 40 other countries
Currently, all Cubans under 31 are immunized against infections, with only 21 cases reported by the end of 2011, a 99.09 percent drop in the number of infections since 1989. All those infected were aged 30 and above.
Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with human fluids such as blood and semen and is one of the five identified viruses that causes liver inflammation and may lead to chronic hepatic diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer.
Cuba's immunization programs have been credited with great success in recent years with the development of a wide range of vaccines against chronic diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, diphtheria, pertussis and dengue. /RHC-XINHUA