Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Review ArticleEpidemiology of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis B Virus Infection in United States ChildrenShepard, Colin W. MD; Finelli, Lyn DrPH; Fiore, Anthony E. MD, MPH; Bell, Beth P. MD, MPHSection Editor(s): Pickering, Larry K. MD Author Information From the Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA Editor's Note:Since FDA licensure of the first hepatitis B vaccine in 1982 and inclusion of hepatitis B vaccine in the recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedule in 1992, there has been a significant decline in hepatitis B virus infections in children. This article reviews the impact of these immunization recommendations and summarizes future challenges. Accepted for publication April 7, 2005. E-mail [email protected]. Reprints not available. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: September 2005 - Volume 24 - Issue 9 - p 755-760 doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000177279.72993.d5 Buy Metrics Abstract Before the era of routine hepatitis B vaccination, an estimated 24,000 children acquired hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection each year in the United States. Childhood hepatitis B immunization has led to significant declines in the incidence and prevalence of HBV infection in U.S. children. Because the greatest burden of hepatitis B is caused by complications of hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis in adults who were infected with HBV as children, most of the benefits of vaccination have yet to be realized. Reaching the goal of eliminating HBV transmission to children likely will require increasing vaccination coverage, ensuring timely administration of postexposure immunoprophylaxis to prevent more perinatal infections, and continued evaluation of the impact of immunization recommendations. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.