Yourwellness and Blog.Aids.gov Raise Infant Hepatitis Awareness

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Whilst also the month of Mother's Day, May is Hepatitis (HBV) Awareness month for many Americans; but it retains as much significance globally as it does to the West. As such, Yourwellness looked into the problems surrounding Taiwan, in which viral exposure threaten pregnant mothers and young teenagers whose immune systems are left exposed due to HBV.

Whilst seldom mentioned, the problems of infant HBV are at large, with expectant mothers and their babies exposed to potential viruses. Furthermore, Yourwellness suggests that the HBV vaccine may in fact fail at the infant-hurdle when the vulnerable youngster reaches his or her teenage years. What this means is that the teenager's immune system has not adapted to the viral strain that has been introduced to their body (also known as immunological memory.) With over two billion cases of HBV carriers worldwide, the situation calls for action.

Cited from Yourwellness, according to lead author, Dr. Li-Yu Wang from Mackay Medical College in New Taipei City, Taiwan, explained that "Chronic HBV is a major health burden that leads to cirrhosis, liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) and liver failure, shortening lives and placing a huge economic drain on society." Wang added, "While infantile HBV vaccination is highly effective, it is not 100% and our study examines the long-term success of the HBV vaccine in a high-risk population."

One such movement had been noted by Blog.Aids.gov, where the Hepatitis Awareness Month as of the beginning of May has taken the United States by storm. Contrary to the vaccines in Taiwan, it appears as if the vaccinations in America have in fact been successful, with, according to Blog.Aids.gov, the risks of developing HBV have been reduced by 82 percent. Unfortunately, this has not eradicated the problem, since the vaccine was developed in the 90s, whilst many were still suffering from the virus a decade earlier. Most that are unaware that they have the illness would have passed it onto their infants.

As such, the month is dedicated to encouraging mothers and their children to receive beneficial vaccines in the fight against HBV, especially Hepatitis B as cited by Blog.Aids.gov: “This recommended treatment is to be provided within 12 hours of birth followed by timely completion of the rest of the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, to prevent the infant from contracting hepatitis B. The Action Plan and ACIP also observe that care coordination is needed to ensure that infants born to HBV-infected women receive the services needed to protect them against hepatitis B.”

Whilst a global issue, by raising awareness and taking action, protection against HBV and providing care for mothers and children suffering from this chronic condition, there are positive signs of change.

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Michael Kitt
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