Jul 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:54 AM EDT

Hepatitis A Vaccination Among The Alaskan Children Nearly Eliminates The Virus

Aug 10, 2017 02:10 PM EDT

Hepatitis A Vaccine
(Photo : Katherine Jean Diehl / You Tube) Hepatitis A Vaccine.

The successful Hepatitis A vaccination has nearly wiped out the virus in the Alaskan children. This vaccination program established in the 1990s in Alaska where the virus remained endemic.

In 2001 this Hepatitis A vaccination became a necessity for the school entry in Alaska. During the 1950s to 1990s, Alaska witnessed the epidemics of the Hepatitis A every ten to fifteen years. The impacts of this virus were disproportionately visible among the AN or the Alaska Native people locating in the rural communities in Alaska.

Hepatitis A is a severe infection of the liver that causes jaundice, nausea, weakness and other health problems, according to EurekAlert. The infection is caused by the Hepatitis A virus that can survive in the food. High temperature like 85-degree Celsius and chemicals like chlorine can inactivate this virus. People maintaining poor sanitation generally become the victim of this problem.

According to World Health Organization, Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can be transmitted through the indigestion of contaminated water and food. Direct contact with the infectious person could be another reason of this disease. A person can recover fully from this liver disease and can avail lifelong immunity with the safe and simultaneously effective vaccine.

In 1995 the HAV or the Hepatitis A virus vaccines became licensed and simultaneously recommended by the ACIP or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice. ACIP recommended for the routine vaccine for the U.S. children that belong to the population with higher infection rates of HAV. The universal Hepatitis A vaccination started in Alaska in 1996 among the children aged from two to fourteen years.

With the ACIP recommendations, the vaccination program expanded to the children aged from two to eighteen years. From 2006 the vaccination program started for the children aged between one to eighteen years. Epidemiology Specialist, Stephanie Massay, presented data from the Hepatitis A vaccination program at the World Indigenous Peoples' Conference on Viral Hepatitis of the current year.

The event took place in Anchorage, Alaska from 8 to 9 August. The data revealed the average yearly incidence of Hepatitis A in Alaska was 60 per 100,000 persons from 1972 to 1995. During 2002 to 2007 the incidence of Hepatitis A decreased by 98%, and among the Alaskan Natives, the decrement showed by 99.9%.

During the period of 2008 to 2016, only 23 cases of HAV surfaced in Alaska. Notably, among these 23 cases, 5 cases had surfaced in Alaska, 11 from the nonAN and 7 from the unknown race or ethnicity. Coverage of the Hepatitis A virus Vaccine among the children aged 19 to 35 months was remarkable in 2015. According to the estimation of the National Immunization Survey data, it was 84% in Alaska and 86% of all the U.S. children in 2015.


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