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Hepatitis B virus infection as a neglected tropical disease

O'Hara, Geraldine A. ; McNaughton, Anna L. ; Maponga, Tongai ; Jooste, Pieter ; Ocama, Ponsiano ; Chileng, Roma ; Mokaya, Jolynne ; Liyayi, Mitchell I. ; Wachira, Tabitha ; Gikungi, David M. ; Burbridge, Lela ; O'Donnel, Denise ; Akiror, Connie S. ; Sloan, Derek ; Torimiro, Judith ; Yindom, Louis Marie ; Walton, Robert ; Andersson, Monique ; Marsh, Kevin ; Newton, Robert ; Matthews, Philippa C. (2017)

CITATION: O'Hara, G. A., et al. 2017. Hepatitis B virus infection as a neglected tropical disease. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(10): e0005842, doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0005842.

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The Global Hepatitis Health Sector Strategy is aiming for “elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat” by 2030 [1], while enhanced elimination efforts for hepatitis are also promoted under the broader remit of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [2]. This is an enormous challenge for hepatitis B virus (HBV) given the estimated global burden of 260 million chronic carriers, of whom the majority are unaware of their infection [3] (Fig 1). We here present HBV within the framework for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) [4] in order to highlight the ways in which HBV meets NTD criteria and to discuss the ways in which the NTD management paradigm could be used to strengthen a unified global approach to HBV elimination [5]. The major burden of morbidity and mortality from HBV is now borne by tropical and subtropical countries [6]. Many African populations epitomize specific vulnerability to HBV [7], so we here focus particular attention on Africa, both through focus on the existing published literature and through presentation of a unique data set of opinion and experience (see S1 Supporting Information). However, the themes we represent are transferable to other low- and middle-income settings and are relevant on the global stage.

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