Prevalence of HBsAg carriers in native and immigrant pregnant female populations in Israel and passive/active vaccination against HBV of newborns at risk

V. Bogomolski‐Yahalom, E. Granot, N. Linder, R. Adler, S. Korman, N. Manny, R. Tur‐Kaspa, D. Shouval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Israel has no official prevention policy at present against perinatal and horizontal transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in newborns and children at risk. The present study was designed to assess the prevalence of HBV carrier state in a population of 11,123 pregnant women at term. Among this population (mean age 29.7±5.9),98 women (0.88%) were found to be asymptomatic HBsAg+ carriers, and 97% of these carriers were anti‐HBe+. Evidence for HBV replication, as determined by serum HBV‐DNA, was established in 6.6% of the HBsAg+/anti‐HBe+ population. The HBsAg carrier rate was strongly influenced by religion, continent, and country of birth of the carrier mothers. The highest relative carrier rate was found among women of Moslem origin (4.3%), as compared to Jewish women (0.67%). Most carrier women were born in Israel (56.1%) to mothers who had emigrated from regions with intermediate or high endemicity of HBV, such as North Africa or the Middle East. In these groups, the HBsAg carrier rate ranged between 1.2 and 3.0%. Ninety‐three percent of newborns receiving passive/active vaccination against HBV developed protective levels of anti‐HBs. Finally, evidence for horizontal transmission of HBV was found in 19.3% of 83 non‐vaccinated children in families of HBsAg carriers. The present study therefore establishes HBsAg prevalence rates in specific risk groups of women at term and confirms the need for an official policy on immunization against HBV in Israel. Since over 50% of women at term belong to the defined risk groups, universal active vaccination of the entire newborn population each year is suggested as the most rational and needed policy in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • HBV DNA
  • HBsAg+/anti‐HBe+
  • horizontal HBV transmission
  • perinatal

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