Towards the elimination of hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma

C W Spearman


Hepatitis B (HBV) remains a global health problem despite the availability of effective vaccines since 1982 and effective antiviral therapy. The global burden of disease is substantial, with HBV resulting in 887 220 deaths in 2015: acute hepatitis (87 076), cirrhosis (462 690) and hepatocellular carcinoma (337 454). The World Health Organization has a vision to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. Although HBV and its associated complications of cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma are entirely vaccine preventable, there is no cure for chronic hepatitis B as yet. HBV elimination strategies will need to focus on effective and implementable preventive and therapeutic strategies such as upscaling HBV birth-dose vaccination, full HBV vaccine coverage, vaccination of high-risk groups, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and identification of HBV-infected individuals and linkage to care with sustainable access to antiviral therapy.

Author's affiliations

C W Spearman, Division of Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2018;108(8b):13-16. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i8b.13496

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-08-08
Date published: 2018-08-08

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