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Health Indicator Report of Hepatitis B, Acute and Chronic Infections

Hepatitis B infection is a common cause of death associated with liver failure, cirrhosis and liver cancer. In New Mexico, approximately 5000 people are living with hepatitis B. Nationwide, hepatitis B infection is the cause of 2000-4000 deaths each year. Rates of new infection and acute disease are highest among adults, but chronic infection is more likely to occur in persons infected as infants or young children.(1)

Hepatitis B, Acute and Chronic Infections per 100,000 Population by County, New Mexico 2006-2009

Quartile Map of Hepatitis B Rates by County, New Mexico

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A "Quartile" map assigns areas to four groups. Each group includes the SAME NUMBER of areas. Group membership and map color are based on the rank order of area rates, from the lowest rate to the highest. The bottom 25% (bottom quartile) of areas has the lowest rates, the next 25% has the second lowest rates, the next 25% has the second highest rates and the top 25% of areas has the highest rates. Areas with the darkest color have the highest rates. Percentile maps such as this assign areas to different groups regardless of how close the rates actually are. In other words, just because two areas are in different groups doesn't necessarily mean that their rates are significantly different. For small area background information and reference maps, please visit:


** Data for Colfax, De Baca, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Mora, Quay, Torrance and Union counties were suppressed because the small number of cases in those counties produced statistically unstable results.

Data Source

New Mexico Data Source, 2006 and later: New Mexico Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NM-EDSS), Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health.

Data Interpretation Issues

Since many acute infections do not result in symptoms, the number of new cases of hepatitis B are underreported both in New Mexico and in the United States. Disease incidence data are derived from reports of notifiable infectious diseases. NMDOH relies on health care providers, laboratories, hospitals, clinics, institutions and individuals to report suspected and confirmed notifiable infectious diseases in accordance with New Mexico Administrative Code 7.4.3. Under-reporting can occur due to of lack of awareness about reporting requirements or lack of compliance with those requirements. Not all cases of infectious diseases can be detected for various reasons including lack of access to health care services, lack of laboratory testing or concerns about confidentiality. Specific and standardized national case definitions are used to classify disease reports by case status. To report a disease incident included in the Administrative Code, contact the Epidemiology and Response Division at the New Mexico Department of Health, 505-827-0006.


The number of acute and chronic hepatitis B infections reported per 100,000 population


The number of acute and chronic hepatitis B infections reported during the time period. For chronic hepatitis B, both probable and confirmed cases have been included in these case counts. For acute hepatitis B, only confimed cases have been included, as there are no probable, acute cases of hepatitis B according to the case definition.


Total estimated population by year (or for combined years)

Healthy People Objective: Reduce hepatitis B

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

How Are We Doing?

Hepatitis B vaccination is very effective in preventing infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is one of the recommended childhood vaccinations and is required for school entry in New Mexico. However, new infections with HBV continue to be reported. Transmission most commonly occurs among injecting drug users through shared needles, and sexual and household contacts of someone infected with HBV. Mothers can transmit the virus to their children during birth. Newly infected adults are typically without symptoms. Although new infections are being reported in all age groups, the highest number of new cases is being reported in men between the ages of 25 and 49 years.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

New Mexico rate is below the US rate for hepatitis B infections.

Evidence-based Practices

Hepatitis B vaccination is the most effective measure to prevent HBV infection and its consequences. A primary focus of this strategy is universal vaccination of infants to prevent early childhood HBV infection and to eventually protect adolescents and adults from infection. Other components include routine screening of all pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and postexposure immunoprophylaxis of infants born to HBsAg-positive women, vaccination of children and adolescents who were not previously vaccinated, and vaccination of unvaccinated adults at increased risk for infection.(1) A complete vaccination schedule may be found online at
Page Content Updated On 12/14/2010, Published on 04/28/2011
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Tue, 03 May 2016 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Sat, 12 Sep 2015 11:21:20 MDT