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Prevention of Hepatitis B Through the Use of Vaccine

JAMES E. MAYNARD, M.D., PH.D.
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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Phoenix, Arizona


Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(3):442-444. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-3-442
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Hepatitis B is a disease of global distribution. Before the development of sensitive laboratory diagnostic techniques, diagnosis was limited to cases occurring after blood transfusion or receipt of products containing blood components, which caused a massive underestimation of the worldwide prevalence of disease. It is now clear that the infection is widespread and that most illness is transmitted by means other than blood transfusion or blood product administration. Continued transmission of hepatitis in humans is assured by the existence of a large reservoir of persistent human carriers of hepatitis B virus (HBV), estimated on a worldwide basis to number over

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