In a new national poll, consultants found that more than 50% of Americans did not know a vaccine for hepatitis B virus infection existed, according to a press release from the Hepatitis B Foundation.
The poll, which was conducted by REPASS Research and Strategic Consulting in Cincinnati, Ohio, surveyed 1,500 adults between July 9 and 17 to see how much of the U.S. population knows about the HBV vaccine. They found that 39% of respondents did not know if a vaccine existed and 17% believed there was no vaccine, marking a total of 56% of people unaware that a vaccine is available to prevent the infection.
“Hepatitis B is the world's most serious common liver infection, as well as the world’s deadliest vaccine-preventable disease,” Timothy Block, PhD, president and co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation, said in the release. “If every person was tested for hepatitis B and vaccinated, this urgent public health threat could be eliminated within our lifetime. The lesson here is get tested and get vaccinated.”
In addition, the press release stated that 54% of adults who filled out the survey reported not being tested for HBV, 29% stated they had been tested for HBV and 17% were unaware if they had been tested for HBV or not.
According to the release, more than 2 million Americans in the U.S. are chronically infected with HBV. Of these, 1 in 4 will die prematurely from liver failure or liver cancer without early diagnosis and intervention. However, only 30% of Americans have been tested for the infection and the poll showed that more than 50% do not even know there is a vaccine.
“The Hepatitis B Foundation is urging all adults to take a simple blood test and to get vaccinated to help eradicate this deadly virus,” according to the release.