A new announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments in the Western Pacific to take more action in combatting viral hepatitis infections in their countries. A new report shows that the region bears a disproportionately high rate of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) across the globe, Vaccine News Daily reports.

The latest WHO analysis estimates that the Western Pacific currently accounts for nearly half of all hepatitis B cases in the world. Health data also shows chronic HBV infection rates in the region regularly reach upwards of 6 percent, some of the highest in the world.

The report comes shortly after the World Health Assembly identified viral hepatitis as a global health problem for 2014. Currently, the WHO estimates that nearly 500 million people are affected by chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide.

To read the full Vaccine News Daily report, click here.