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Issue Number 497            December 9, 2004


  1. Unprotected People #68-70: Liver cancer deaths following failure to test for HBV and to interpret test results accurately


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December 9, 2004

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) publishes articles about people who have suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases and periodically devotes an IAC EXPRESS issue to such articles. In this issue, we present three Unprotected People reports about four people who died from liver cancer related to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Three were immigrants from countries that have high or intermediate rates of HBV infection; one was a U.S.-born child of an immigrant from a country with high HBV endemicity.

Their relatives--mother, sister, and daughter--wrote the accounts reprinted below. Their hope, and ours, is that the experience of the son, brothers, and mother chronicled here will make a powerful case for health professionals to take steps to protect their immigrant patients and susceptible family members from HBV infection and its complications, including liver cancer. The steps include testing and vaccinating those at risk for HBV infection and identifying and treating those chronically infected with HBV.

Below is a brief summary of each account, followed by a URL that will take you to the complete Unprotected People report:

"Unprotected People #68: One Family's Story: Living with Hepatitis B" underscores the serious consequences misinterpreted HBV test results had for a family with three children adopted from Korea. To read it, go to:

"Unprotected People #69: Testimony before the President's Advisory Committee on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders" recounts a young woman's loss of her mother and brother to undetected HBV infection and HBV-related liver cancer. To read it, go to:

"Unprotected People #70: We called him 'A-Man'" tells of the death of a 20-year-old college student and of his and his siblings' determination to educate the public about HBV infection. To read it, go to:

To read more IAC Unprotected People Reports, go to:

DISCLAIMER: The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) publishes Unprotected People Reports for the purpose of making them available for our readers' review. We have not verified the content of these reports, for which the authors are solely responsible.

DO YOU KNOW OF PUBLISHED ARTICLES ABOUT UNPROTECTED PEOPLE? Please let us know if you find articles or case reports about people who have suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases that have appeared in the general or scientific media. Send information about articles or case reports to IAC EXPRESS by email to or by fax to (651) 647-9131.  

About IZ Express

IZ Express is supported in part by Grant No. 1NH23IP922654 from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Its contents are solely the responsibility of and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

IZ Express Disclaimer
ISSN 2771-8085

Editorial Information

  • Editor-in-Chief
    Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
  • Managing Editor
    John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
  • Associate Editor
    Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
  • Writer/Publication Coordinator
    Taryn Chapman, MS
    Courtnay Londo, MA
  • Style and Copy Editor
    Marian Deegan, JD
  • Web Edition Managers
    Arkady Shakhnovich
    Jermaine Royes
  • Contributing Writer
    Laurel H. Wood, MPA
  • Technical Reviewer
    Kayla Ohlde

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