News Perspectives

Hepatitis E Shots Protect at Least 4½ Years

A new vaccine protects against hepatitis E infection for at least 4 years, a new study shows. Hepatitis E is uncommon in the United States. It is spread by poor sanitation, such as in refugee camps. In the developing world, it sickens 3 million people a year. About 1% to 3% die. Among pregnant women, the death rate is 20%. The new study was done in China. It included more than 100,000 adults. Half were given a series of 3 shots of the hepatitis E vaccine. In the comparison group, people received the hepatitis B vaccine instead. In the next 4 years, 7 of those who got the hepatitis E vaccine and 53 who got the other vaccine developed hepatitis E infection. Almost 90% of the hepatitis E vaccine group still had antibodies against the disease at the end of the study. The New England Journal of Medicine published the study. HealthDay News wrote about it March 4.

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