Anyone can be infected with hepatitis B. Everyone can benefit from knowing their status and being protected. The majority of adults reported to CDC in recent years with acute hepatitis B have no reported risk factor for infection. Risk factors for exposure are so numerous and diverse that most adults, even those who don’t think of themselves as at risk, may find themselves at risk at some point in their lives.
Infants and children have been routinely vaccinated since the 1990s. As a result, we see very little hepatitis B in the routinely vaccinated age groups; however, rates have been steady or rising in unvaccinated older adults. CDC recommends extending this vaccine protection to all adults in a catch-up vaccination program. This is a crucial step toward the goal of eliminating hepatitis B and the liver disease and cancer it causes.