The Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB) convened a meeting of international experts from the public and private sectors in the Nordic countries and Germany, in order to review the epidemiological situation, the surveillance systems for infectious diseases, the immunization programmes and policy, and the monitoring of adverse events after hepatitis vaccination in those countries, to evaluate prevention and control measures, and to identify the issues that arose and the lessons learnt. Considerable progress has been made in the past decades in the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in the respective countries. Vaccination programmes have been set up, blood products' safety has significantly been improved, and outbreak investigations remain the basis for the implementation of control measures. However, additional work remains to be done. Awareness of viral hepatitis among the public and professionals should further be raised, and more political support is needed regarding the value of prevention efforts and vaccination programmes.
We studied the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and GB virus-C (GBV-C) infections in 348 Siberian natives who lived in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. Of 348 samples studied, the seroprevalence of HBsAg and anti-HBs were 11.8% (41 of 348 samples) and 35.9% (125 of 348 samples), respectively. The prevalence of HCV infection was 1.4% (5 of 348 samples), and that of GBV-C RNA, using RT-PCR methods, was 7.5% (26 of 348 samples). In Siberia, the prevalences of HBV and GBV-C infections were about tenfold higher than those in Japan. The prevalence of HBsAg in subjects under 50 years of age was significantly higher than that in those over 50 years old (P