Hepatitis B (HBV) is a blood-borne virus that attacks the liver causing both acute and chronic disease. Two billion people worldwide are infected with the virus, 240 million live with chronic HBV infection and 780,000 people die each year due to HBV related illness.
It is 50 times more infectious than HIV but unlike HIV, there is a vaccine available which is 95 percent effective. Vaccinating a baby in the first 24 hours of life against the virus is potentially lifesaving, yet millions of children in resource-poor countries are still missing out.
HBV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing drug injecting equipment or from mother to baby.