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High hepatitis rate among Chinese students

BEIJING, May 10 (UPI) -- College students in China have a higher than average rate of hepatitis B infections, a public health expert said Sunday.

Xinhua reported that less than one-third of China's college students have been vaccinated against the virus.

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Yang Xizhong, secretary general of the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control, said more than 9 percent of Chinese college students were infected with the disease, citing a six-month nationwide survey of 729,000 students from 59 colleges.

The hepatitis B infection is more than 10 percent in provinces such as Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hubei and Fujian. The average hepatitis B infection rate among 15- to 59-year-olds in China is about 8 percent, Yang said.

Yang said the higher-than-average infection rate among college students is mainly due to a lack of awareness.

"Although inoculation is the most effective way to ward off hepatitis B infection, only 30 percent of the students were inoculated," Yang was quoted as saying.

Hepatitis B can cause liver inflammation, vomiting, and jaundice. Chronic hepatitis B can eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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