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January 24, 1996

The War Against Hepatitis B: A History of the International Task Force on Hepatitis B Immunization

Author Affiliations

University of California, Davis University of Washington Harborview Medical Center Seattle


by William Muraskin, 248 pp, with illus, $29.95, ISBN 0-8122-3267-4, Philadelphia, Pa, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.

JAMA. 1996;275(4):330-331. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280082051

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The development of tissue culture followed rapidly by the availability of vaccines for poliomyelitis and other common diseases of childhood led to the closure of contagious disease hospitals and the expectation by many in the general public that widespread outbreaks of virus disease were a thing of the past. Health experts, however, became aware a decade before the appearance of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome that hundreds of millions of people throughout the world were infected with a virus that attacks the liver and leads to cirrhosis, cancer of the liver, and death. The agent responsible, the hepatitis B virus (HBV), causes the most common virus infection in the world. A reservoir of between 200 million and 300 million people throughout the world is infected with HBV and disseminating hepatitis B. Hepatitis B virus is second only to smoking as a cause of fatal cancer in man!

Hepatitis B infection, especially