CDC: California Increases HBV Vaccination in At-Risk Adults

But the annual incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States has increased
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- In California, a public health project initiative has increased hepatitis B vaccinations among at-risk adults. However, in the United States there is an increasing incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma -- which often results from hepatitis B infection, according to two reports published in the May 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In one report, researchers from the CDC in Atlanta studied 2007 to 2008 data from California's Adult Hepatitis Vaccine Project, which was established in response to a CDC initiative encouraging states to use existing federal funds to purchase vaccine to distribute at little or no cost to adults at risk for infection because of risky sexual behaviors and needle-sharing practices. During the project's first 19 months, they found that 28,824 doses were distributed at 29 participating sites. The authors write that the vaccine was administered to many adults who might not otherwise have been vaccinated.

In a second report, CDC researchers analyzed 2001 to 2006 data from the CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results surveillance system. They found that the average annual incidence rate for hepatocellular carcinoma increased from 2.7 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 3.2 in 2006, resulting in an average annual increase of 3.5 percent. They also found that the largest increases in incidence rates occurred among whites, blacks, and people aged 50 to 59 years (3.8, 4.8, and 9.1 percent, respectively).

"Most cases of hepatocellular carcinoma are preventable," write the authors of the second report. "Prevention of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus transmission and progression of chronic viral disease leads to declines in hepatocellular carcinoma incidence. However, new hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections continue to occur."

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