Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B in Taiwan

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.20160719.32(14).001

Chia-Ling Liu, Hsiu-Fang Chang, Ji-Jia Huang, Yu-Min Chou

2016 Vol.32 NO.14

Correspondence Author: Chia-Ling Liu

  • Division of Acute Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


Taiwan government initiated the Hepatitis B Control Program in 1982, and a series of five-year programs had been subsequently proposed and enacted. In 2011, Hepatitis B Control Program has been integrated into the Acute Infectious Disease Epidemic Risk Monitoring and Management Plan. The main strategies for Hepatitis B control include maintaining high vaccination rate, increasing hepatitis testing, and extending hepatitis treatment. A nationwide screening of pregnant women and neonate mass immunization program against hepatitis B has been implemented since July 1984. That program significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus in Taiwan. The HBsAg positive rate of children at age six years has declined from 10.5% before the immunization program to 0.8 % in 2007, which has reached the WPRO 2017 goal of hepatitis B prevalence among young children to less than 1%. Nowadays, we still face several challenges to control hepatitis B. Immunization cannot interrupt all vertical transmissions of hepatitis B virus. Among infants born to HBeAg positive mothers, 10% will become chronic carriers of hepatitis B after even receiving immunoprophylaxis. The Hepatitis B vaccination does not provide life-long protection; therefore, vaccinees who had lost protective antibodies but had high risk behaviors may be infected with HBV if exposed. Moreover, there are numerous people living with chronic hepatitis B but unaware of their infection status and may unknowingly spread the virus to others. In addition, treatments for hepatitis B can suppress HBV replication but cannot cure the disease. We expect the above issues could be resolved in the future and look forward to further breakthroughs in hepatitis B control.

Keywords:Hepatitis B control, Hepatitis B vaccine