Battlefield against hepatitis B infection and HCC in Africa

J Hepatol. 2017 Mar;66(3):645-654. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.10.013. Epub 2016 Oct 19.


Despite effective and safe hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine and antiviral therapies, HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains a major cause of deaths in young adults in Africa. There are multiple barriers to control the burden of HBV infection and HCC. In comparison to other major infectious diseases, HBV infection and liver diseases have received remarkably little attention from the global health community. There is an urgent need to improve birth dose vaccine coverage and implementing screening and treatment interventions. This requires a dramatic simplification of the management of chronic hepatitis B in Africa, with access to reliable, robust and inexpensive diagnostic tools and strong support from the local governments and the international health community. This review analyses 1) the characteristics of HBV hepatitis and HCC epidemics in Africa and 2) the barriers and potential solutions to control it.

Keywords: Africa; Antiviral agents; Cirrhosis; Global health; HBV; HCC; Immunization; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Epidemics / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors