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1.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
2.  Prevalence and virological profiles of hepatitis B infection in human immunodeficiency virus patients 
World Journal of Hepatology  2012;4(7):218-223.
AIM: To determine the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in adult human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with CD4+ T-cell count less than 500/mm3 and without antiretroviral therapy; to describe different HBV-HIV coinfection virological profiles; and to search for factors associated with HBs antigen (HBsAg) presence in these HIV positive patients.
METHODS: During four months (June through September 2006), 491 patients were received in four HIV positive monitoring clinical centers in Abidjan. Inclusion criteria: HIV-1 or HIV-1 and 2 positive patients, age ≥ 18 years, CD4+ T-cell count < 500/mL and formal and signed consent of the patient. Realized blood tests included HIV serology, CD4+ T-cell count, quantitative HIV RNA load and HBV serological markers, such as HBsAg and HBc antibody (anti-HBcAb). We performed HBeAg, anti-HBe antibody (anti-HBeAb), anti-HBc IgM and quantitative HBV DNA load in HBsAg positive patients. Anti-HBsAb had been tested in HIV patients with HBsAg negative and anti-HBcAb-positive. HBV DNA was also tested in 188 anti-HBcAb positive patients with HBsAg negative status and without anti-HBsAb. Univariate analysis (Pearson χ2 test or Fischer exact test) and multivariate analysis (backward step-wise selection logistic regression) were performed as statistical analysis.
RESULTS: Mean age of 491 patients was 36 ± 8.68 years and 73.3% were female. Type-1 HIV was found in 97% and dual-type HIV (type 1 plus type 2) in 3%. World Health Organization (WHO) clinical stage was 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively in 61 (12.4%), 233 (47.5%), 172 (35%) and 25 patients (5.1%). Median CD4+ T-cell count was 341/mm3 (interquartile range: 221-470). One hundred and twelve patients had less than 200 CD4+ T-cell/mm3. Plasma HIV-1 RNA load was elevated (≥ 5 log10 copies/mL) in 221 patients (45%). HBsAg and anti-HBcAb prevalence was respectively 13.4% and 72.9%. Of the 66 HBsAg positive patients, 22 were inactive HBV carriers (33.3%), 21 had HBeAg positive hepatitis (31.8%) and 20 had HBeAg negative hepatitis (30.3%). HBeAg and anti-HBeAb were indeterminate in 3 of them. Occult B infection prevalence (HBsAg negative, anti-HBcAb positive, anti-HBsAb negative and detectable HBV DNA) was 21.3%. Three parameters were significantly associated with the presence of HBsAg: male [odds ratio (OR): 2.2; P = 0.005; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3-3.8]; WHO stage 4 (OR: 3.2; P = 0.01; 95% CI: 1.3-7.9); and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level higher than the standard (OR: 1.9; P = 0.04; 95% CI: 1.02-3.8).
CONCLUSION: HBV infection prevalence is high in HIV-positive patients. HBeAg positive chronic hepatitis and occult HBV infection are more frequent in HIV-positive patients than in HIV negative ones. Parameters associated with HBsAg positivity were male gender, AIDS status and increased AST level.
PMCID: PMC3409356  PMID: 22855697
Hepatitis B virus-human immunodeficiency virus coinfection; Prevalence; Virological profiles; Black Africa
3.  HBV vaccine efficacy and detection and genotyping of vaccineé asymptomatic breakthrough HBV infection in Egypt 
World Journal of Hepatology  2011;3(6):147-156.
AIM: To evaluate the impact of mass vaccination against the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in Egypt, and to search for vaccinee asymptomatic breakthrough HBV infection and its genotype.
METHODS: Seven hundred serum samples from vaccinated children and adults (aged 2-47 years) were used for quantitative and qualitative detection of HBsAb by ELISA. Three hundred and sixty serum samples representing undetectable or low or high HBsAb were screened for markers of active HBV infection (HBsAg, HBcAb (IgG) and HBeAb by ELISA, plus HBsAg by AxSYM) and HBV-DNA genotyping by nested multiplex PCR and by DNA sequencing.
RESULTS: It was found that 65% of children aged 2-4 years, and 20.5% aged 4-13 years, as well as 45% adults were good responders to HBV vaccination mounting protective level HBsAb. Poor responders were 28%, 59.5% and 34%, and non-responders were 7%, 20% and 21% respectively, in the three studied groups. Markers of asymptomatic HBV infections were HBsAg detected by ELISA in 2.5% vs 11.39% by AxSYM. Other markers were HBcAb (IgG) in 1.38%, HBeAb in 0.83%, and HBV-DNA in 7.8%. All had HBV genotype E infection.
CONCLUSION: It is concluded that HBV vaccine is efficient in controlling HBV infection among children and adults. The vaccine breakthrough infection was by HBV genotype E. A booster dose of vaccine is recommended, probably four years after initial vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3159495  PMID: 21860674
HBV vaccine evaluation; Egyptain children; Adults; Genotype E vaccine escape HBV
4.  Occult hepatitis B virus infection among Egyptian blood donors 
World Journal of Hepatology  2013;5(2):64-73.
AIM: To identify blood donors with occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) to promote safe blood donation.
METHODS: Descriptive cross sectional study was conducted on 3167 blood donors negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C antibody (HCV Ab) and human immunodeficiency virus Ab. They were subjected to the detection of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) and screening for anti-HBV core antibodies (total) by two different techniques; [Monoliza antibodies to hepatitis B core (Anti-HBc) Plus-Bio-Rad] and (ARC-HBc total-ABBOT). Positive samples were subjected to quantitative detection of antibodies to hepatitis B surface (anti-HBs) (ETI-AB-AUK-3, Dia Sorin-Italy). Serum anti-HBs titers > 10 IU/L was considered positive. Quantitative HBV DNA by real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (QIAGEN-Germany) with 3.8 IU/mL detection limit was estimated for blood units with negative serum anti-HBs and also for 32 whose anti-HBs serum titers were > 1000 IU/L. Also, 265 recipients were included, 34 of whom were followed up for 3-6 mo. Recipients were investigated for ALT and AST, HBV serological markers: HBsAg (ETI-MAK-4, Dia Sorin-Italy), anti-HBc, quantitative detection of anti-HBs and HBV-DNA.
RESULTS: 525/3167 (16.6%) of blood units were positive for total anti-HBc, 64% of those were anti-HBs positive. Confirmation by ARCHITECT anti-HBc assay were carried out for 498/525 anti-HBc positive samples, where 451 (90.6%) confirmed positive. Reactivity for anti-HBc was considered confirmed only if two positive results were obtained for each sample, giving an overall prevalence of 451/3167 (14.2%) for total anti-HBc. HBV DNA was quantified by real time PCR in 52/303 (17.2%) of anti-HBc positive blood donors (viral load range: 5 to 3.5 x 105 IU/mL) with a median of 200 IU/mL (mean: 1.8 x 104 ± 5.1 x 104 IU/mL). Anti-HBc was the only marker in 68.6% of donors. Univariate and multivariate logistic analysis for identifying risk factors associated with anti-HBc and HBV-DNA positivity among blood donors showed that age above thirty and marriage were the most significant risk factors for prediction of anti-HBc positivity with AOR 1.8 (1.4-2.4) and 1.4 (1.0-1.9) respectively. Other risk factors as gender, history of blood transfusion, diabetes mellitus, frequent injections, tattooing, previous surgery, hospitalization, Bilharziasis or positive family history of HBV or HCV infections were not found to be associated with positive anti-HBc antibodies. Among anti-HBc positive blood donors, age below thirty was the most significant risk factor for prediction of HBV-DNA positivity with AOR 3.8 (1.8-7.9). According to HBV-DNA concentration, positive samples were divided in two groups; group one with HBV-DNA ≥ 200 IU/mL (n = 27) and group two with HBV-DNA < 200 IU/mL (n = 26). No significant difference was detected between both groups as regards mean age, gender, liver enzymes or HBV markers. Serological profiles of all followed up blood recipients showed that, all were negative for the studied HBV markers. Also, HBV DNA was not detected among studied recipients, none developed post-transfusion hepatitis (PTH) and the clinical outcome was good.
CONCLUSION: OBI is prevalent among blood donors. Nucleic acid amplification/HBV anti core screening should be considered for high risk recipients to eliminate risk of unsafe blood donation.
PMCID: PMC3642725  PMID: 23646231
Hepatitis B virus; Total anti-HBc; Occult hepatitis B virus infection; Hepatitis B surface antigen; Hepatitis B virus-DNA
5.  Active-passive Immunization Effectiveness Against Hepatitis B Virus in Children Born to HBsAg Positive Mothers in Amol, North of Iran 
Oman Medical Journal  2011;26(6):399-403.
HBV infection is a contagious disease that may transmit vertically from mothers to their neonates or horizontally by blood products and body secretions. Over 50% of Iranian carriers have contracted the infection perinatally, making this the most likely route of transmission of HBV in Iran. This study assesses the serologic markers of HBV in children born to HBsAg positive mothers who received HBIG and 3 doses of HBV vaccine.
To evaluate the effectiveness of vaccination against HBV, a study was conducted on 95 Children, born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive mothers, who had received Hepatitis B Immune Globulin and HBV vaccines during 2004-2008. All children were tested for the presence of HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HB core antigen (anti-HBc).
Among an estimated 30000 pregnant women during the five year study, about 130 (0.42%) were HBV carriers. Ninety-five children from these mothers were enrolled in this study. Only one child (1.1%) was HBsAg positive, while 88.4% of children were Anti-HBs Positive. Eleven children (11.6%) were exposed to HBV as shown by the presence of anti-HBc. A significant difference was observed between the children’s age and Anti-HBs (p=0.0001).
Passive-active immunoprophylaxis of high risk babies was highly efficacious in preventing perinatal transmission of the HBV carrier state. Also, evaluation of serologic markers in HBV infected people is important for designing the strategies for disease control.
PMCID: PMC3251203  PMID: 22253947
Children; HBsAg positive mothers; Hepatitis B Vaccine; Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin; Anti-HBc; Anti-HBs
6.  Rare Detection of Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Children of Mothers with Positive Hepatitis B Surface Antigen 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112803.
The prevalence of occult Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in children was considerably varied from 0.1–64% in different reports. In this study we aimed to investigate the prevalence of occult HBV infection among the children born to mothers with positive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in Jiangsu, China. Serum samples were collected from 210 children of 207 mothers with positive HBsAg. HBV serological markers were detected by ELISA and HBV DNA was detected by nested PCR. Homology comparison of HBV sequences recovered from the child and mother was used to define the infection. Three children (1.43%) were positive for HBsAg, in whom the HBV pre S and S gene sequence in each child was identical to that in her mother. Of the 207 HBsAg-negative children, nine displayed HBV DNA positive by two nested PCR assays using primers derived from S and C genes. However, the sequence alignment showed that the sequences in each child were considerably different from those in his/her mother. Therefore, the sequences amplified from the children were very likely resultant from the cross-contaminations. Furthermore, the nine children with ‘positive HBV DNA’ were all negative for anti-HBc, and one had anti-HBs 3.42 mIU/ml and eight others had anti-HBs from 72 to >1000 mIU/ml, indicating that the nine children were less likely infected with HBV. Therefore, none of the 207 HBsAg-negative children of HBV-infected mothers was found to have occult HBV infection. We conclude that the prevalence of occult HBV infection in vaccinated children born to HBsAg positive mothers should be extremely low. We recommend that homology comparison of sequences recovered from the child and mother be used to define the occult HBV infection in children born to HBV infected mothers.
PMCID: PMC4226608  PMID: 25383543
7.  HIV and Hepatitis B Co-infection Among Perinatally HIV-infected Thai Adolescents 
The study aimed to determine prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) co-infection and HBV antibody in perinatally HIV-infected adolescents. A secondary objective was to describe the clinical characteristics of adolescents with chronic HBV- and HIV co-infection.
A multi-center cross sectional study of HIV-infected adolescents aged between 12–25 years
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), surface antibody(anti-HBs) and core antibody(anti-HBc) were measured. Co-infection was defined as having persistent positive HBsAg. Seroprotective antibody from immunization was defined as having anti-HBs > 10 mIU/mL with negative anti-HBc.
HBV DNA, and rtM204V/I mutation analysis (lamivudine resistance associated mutation) was performed in adolescents with chronic HBV infection.
From November 2010 to March 2011, 521 patients were enrolled. Mean (SD) of CD4 lymphocyte count was 685(324) cells/μl. Prevalence of HBV/HIV co-infected was 3.3%; 95% CI:1.9% to 5.2 %. Protective antibody against HBV was found in 18% of population, and this was significant higher among adolescents who received hepatitis B revaccination after receiving antiretroviral therapy (93% vs. 6%, p<0.01). Among adolescents with chronic HBV infection, 88% have received lamivudine; however 69% have HBV DNA > 105 copies/ml, and 75% had the rtM204V/I mutation.
The prevalence of HBV co-infection in HIV-infected Thai adolescents was 3.3%. Majority of HIV-infected adolescents had no HBV protective antibody; therefore revaccination with HBV vaccine is encouraged. A high prevalence of HBV-lamivudine resistance mutation was found, therefore HBV screening for all children prior to initiation of antiretroviral treatment should be considered to select appropriate regimen regarding both viral infections.
PMCID: PMC3511890  PMID: 22592516
HIV; adolescents; hepatitis B; co-infection
8.  Hepatitis B virus infection in a cohort of HIV infected blood donors and AIDS patients in Sichuan, China 
Co-infections of HBV and HIV are frequent due to similar routes of transmission. In that transmission through blood is an important route for both HBV and HIV, evaluation of the prevalence of HBV in HIV infected blood donors may be important for transfusion safety. In addition, because the epidemiological characteristics of HBV in HIV infected patients and blood donors may differ from each other, understanding of it could be significant for therapy and prevention of HBV in HIV infected adults. However, data reported on these in Chinese people remains limited.
614 HIV confirmed positive samples were collected from blood donors and patients and were screened for HBsAg and HBV DNA. The samples screened reactive for HBsAg or positive for HBV DNA were tested for the other serological markers of HBV including anti-HBs, HBeAg, anti-HBe and anti-HBc. For the samples tested positive for HBV DNA, the S region of HBV was amplified by nested PCR and the HBV genotypes were determined.
HBV coinfections were found in 12.9% (79/614) HIV infected individuals including 42/417(10.1%) blood donors and 37/197 (18.8%) AIDS patients. In the HBsAg positive individuals, 80.0% were HBeAg negative in which 10.0% were HBV DNA negative and 38.3% with HBV DNA lower than 2000 IU/ml. The average HBV DNA levels were lower in donors than in patients. In the HBV DNA positive populations, HBV genotypes B, A and C accounted for 48.1%, 22.8% and 8.86% respectively. Mutations related to the failure of HBsAg detection were found in 2 of the 4 HBsAg-/HBV DNA + subjects.
High prevalence of HBV in HIV infected individuals was found in this study. Hence, we recommend routine testing of HBV for patients newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in China. Some HIV-HBV co-infected patients remain undiagnosed if only conventional serological markers for HBV are used and it’s important to detect HBV DNA for HIV infected patients. HBV DNA levels were relatively low in HBeAg negative patients, thus this serologic marker may be useful in prioritizing patients on their need for HBV treatment in settings in which HBV DNA is not available.
PMCID: PMC4067527  PMID: 24923206
HIV; HBV; Blood donors; AIDS patients
9.  Efficacy and effectiveness of infant vaccination against chronic hepatitis B in the Gambia Hepatitis Intervention Study (1986–90) and in the nationwide immunisation program 
Gambian infants were not routinely vaccinated against hepatitis B virus (HBV) before 1986. During 1986–90 the Gambia Hepatitis Intervention Study (GHIS) allocated 125,000 infants, by area, to vaccination or not and thereafter all infants were offered the vaccine through the nationwide immunisation programme. We report HBV serology from samples of GHIS vaccinees and unvaccinated controls, and from children born later.
During 2007–08, 2670 young adults born during the GHIS (1986-90) were recruited from 80 randomly selected villages and four townships. Only 28% (753/2670) could be definitively linked to their infant HBV vaccination records (255 fully vaccinated, 23 partially vaccinated [1–2 doses], 475 not vaccinated). All were tested for current HBV infection (HBV surface antigen [HBsAg]) and, if HBsAg-negative, evidence of past infection (HBV core-protein antibody [anti-HBc]). HBsAg-positive samples (each with two age- and sex-matched HBsAg-negative samples) underwent liver function tests. In addition, 4613 children born since nationwide vaccination (in 1990-2007) were tested for HBsAg. Statistical analyses ignore clustering.
Comparing fully vaccinated vs unvaccinated GHIS participants, current HBV infection was 0.8% (2/255) vs 12.4% (59/475), p < 0.0001, suggesting 94% (95% CI 77-99%) vaccine efficacy. Among unvaccinated individuals, the prevalence was higher in males (p = 0.015) and in rural areas (p = 0.009), but adjustment for this did not affect estimated vaccine efficacy. Comparing fully vaccinated vs unvaccinated participants, anti-HBc was 27.4% (70/255) vs 56.0% (267/475), p < 0.00001. Chronic active hepatitis was not common: the proportion of HBsAg-positive subjects with abnormal liver function tests (ALT > 2 ULN) was 4.1%, compared with 0.2% in those HBsAg-negative. The prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus was low (0.5%, 13/2592). In children born after the end of GHIS, HBsAg prevalence has remained low; 1.4% (15/1103) in those born between 1990–97, and 0.3% (9/35150) in those born between 1998–2007.
Infant HBV vaccination achieves substantial protection against chronic carriage in early adulthood, even though approximately a quarter of vaccinated young adults have been infected. This protection persists past the potential onset of sexual activity, reinforcing previous GHIS findings of protection during childhood and suggesting no need for a booster dose. Nationwide infant HBV vaccination is controlling chronic infection remarkably effectively.
PMCID: PMC3898092  PMID: 24397793
10.  Safety of TNF-blocking agents in rheumatic patients with serology suggesting past hepatitis B state: results from a cohort of 21 patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R179.
Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in patients with past infection has been described in 5% to 10% of individuals undergoing immunosuppressive therapies. No data are available to date on the outcome of patients treated by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) inhibitors for chronic arthritis with a serological pattern of past HBV infection. The aim of our study was to monitor HBV markers in HBV surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative/anti-HBcAb-positive patients treated with a TNFα inhibitor for inflammatory arthritides.
Twenty-one HBsAg-negative/anti-HBcAb-positive patients were included. HBV serological patterns were compared with those determined before starting TNFα inhibitors. Serum HBV DNA testing by polymerase chain reaction was additionally performed. Spearman correlation analysis was used and P < 0.05 was chosen as the significance threshold.
Before starting therapy, mean anti-HBsAb titre was 725 IU/L, no patient had an anti-HBsAb titre <10 IU/L, and 18 patients had an anti-HBsAb >100 IU/L. At a mean time of 27.2 months following therapy introduction, mean anti-HBsAb titre was 675 IU/L and anti-HBsAb titre remained >100 IU/L in 17 patients. There was a strong correlation between the first and second anti-HBsAb titres (r = 0.98, P = 0.013). Moreover, no patient had an anti-HBsAb titre below 10 IU/L or HBV reactivation (HBsAg seroreversion or positive HBV DNA detection). However, the anti-HBsAb titre decreased by more than 30% in 6 patients. The mean anti-HBsAb titre at baseline was significantly lower (P = 0.006) and the mean duration of anti-TNFα therapy, although non-significant (P = 0.09), was longer in these six patients as compared to patients without a decrease in anti-HBsAb titre.
Anti-TNFα treatments are likely to be safe in patients with past hepatitis B serological pattern. However, the significant decrease of anti-HBsAb titre observed in a proportion of patients deserves HBV virological follow-up in these patients, especially in those with a low anti-HBsAb titre at baseline.
PMCID: PMC3003507  PMID: 19941642
11.  Efficacy of Hepatitis B vaccine in those who lost Hepatitis B surface antigen during follow-up 
Hepatitis Monthly  2011;11(2):119-122.
The level of HBsAg in some chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected individuals may decline over time so that it is not detectable in serum.
To assess the efficacy of HBV vaccine in those who lost their HBsAg without seroconverssion to anti-HBs antibody.
Patients and Methods
From April 1993 to December 2008, of 1603 chronic HBV-infected individuals, 34 (22 men and 12 women) became HBsAg-negative in follow-up visits, with no detectable anti-HBs antibody and HBV DNA in their sera. They received HBV vaccination at 0, 1 and 6 months (case group). Fifty-two subjects (30 men and 22 women) who were negative for HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc antibody, received HBV vaccination according to the said schedule (control group). Anti-HBs antibody was assessed one month after the last dose of vaccination in the both groups.
The mean±SD age of the case and control groups was 38±12.7 and 33.4 ± 8.6 years, respectively (p = 0.07). The sex distribution between these two groups were similar (p = 0.652). The mean ± SD years of follow-up for the case group was 7.6 ± 4.5 years. Anti-HBs antibody level ≥ 10 IU/L was found in 8 (24%) subjects in the case group and in 45 (87%) in the control group (p < 0.001). The mean±SD anti-HBs antibody level in the case group was 68 ± 32.66 and in the control group 344.6 ± 38.9 IU/L (p < 0.001).
We found that nearly 24% of chronic HBsAg-positive subjects who lost their HBsAg responded to HBV and the remaining cases need to be followed for occult HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3206677  PMID: 22087128
Chronic hepatitis B; Follow-up study; HBsAg; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B vaccine
12.  Hepatitis B virus infection among first-time blood donors in Italy: prevalence and correlates between serological patterns and occult infection 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(2):281-288.
A prospective, 1-year study was performed among Italian first-time, volunteer blood donors, who account for 12% of all donations, in order to assess the frequency and serological patterns of hepatitis B virus infection and the presence of occult infection.
Materials and methods
Consecutive donors (n=31,190) from 21 blood transfusion centres, from age classes not subjected to universal HBV vaccination, were tested for HBsAg and anti-HBc by commercial immunoassays. Other HBV serological markers were searched for and qualitative and quantitative assessments of HBV-DNA were made in HBsAg and/or anti-HBc-positive individuals.
Of the 31,190 donors studied, 100 (0.32%) were positive for both HBsAg and anti-HBc, 2 for HBsAg (0.01%) alone, and 2,593 (8.3%) for anti-HBc. Of these last, 86.7% were also positive for anti-HBs (with or without anti-HBe), 2.9% were positive for anti-HBe without anti-HBs and 10.4% had no other HBV markers (anti-HBc alone). A general north-south increasing gradient of HBV prevalence was observed. Circulating HBV-DNA was found in 96.8% of HBsAg-positive subjects as compared to 0.55% (12/2,186) of anti-HBc-positive/HBsAg-negative subjects, with higher frequencies among anti-HBs-negative than among anti-HBs-positive ones (1.68% vs 0.37%; p <0.01) and among the 57 cases positive for both anti-HBc and anti-HBe (7%). HBV-DNA levels were significantly higher in HBsAg-positive subjects than in HBsAg-negative ones (median: 456 IU/mL vs 38 IU/mL).
The prevalence of HBV infection among Italian first-time blood donors is much lower than in the past. The presence of occult infections in this group was confirmed (frequency: 1 in 2,599), supporting the hypothesis of long-term persistence of HBV infection after clearance of HBsAg. HBsAg and nucleic acid amplification testing for blood screening and vaccination against HBV are crucial in order to further reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HBV towards zero.
PMCID: PMC3626481  PMID: 23399361
HBV; anti-HBc; blood screening; occult infection; HBV-DNA
13.  Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Impact of Isolated Antibody to Hepatitis B Core Antigen and Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection in HIV-1–Infected Pregnant Women 
Among hepatitis B (HB) surface antigen–negative/human immunodeficiency virus–infected pregnant women in Thailand, 14% had isolated antibody to HB core antigen (anti-HBc); of whom 24% had occult HB virus (HBV) infection with low HBV DNA levels. None transmitted HBV to their infants.
Background. Prevalence and risk factors for isolated antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are not well known in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)–infected pregnant women. It is unclear if women with occult infections are at risk of transmitting HBV to their infants.
Methods. HIV-1–infected and HBV surface antigen (HBsAg)–negative pregnant women were tested for antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs) and anti-HBc using enzyme immunoassay. Women with isolated anti-HBc were assessed for occult HBV infection, defined as HBV DNA levels >15 IU/mL, using the Abbott RealTime HBV DNA assay. Infants born to women with isolated anti-HBc and detectable HBV DNA were tested at 4 months of age for HBV DNA. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection.
Results. Among 1812 HIV-infected pregnant women, 1682 were HBsAg negative. Fourteen percent (95% confidence interval [CI], 12%–15%) of HBsAg-negative women had an isolated anti-HBc that was independently associated with low CD4 count, age >35 years, birth in northern Thailand, and positive anti–hepatitis C virus serology. Occult HBV infection was identified in 24% (95% CI, 18%–30%) of women with isolated anti-HBc, representing 2.6% (95% CI, 1.9%–3.5%) of HIV-1–infected pregnant women, and was inversely associated with HIV RNA levels. None of the women with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection transmitted HBV to their infants.
Conclusions. HIV-1–infected pregnant women with isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection have very low HBV DNA levels and are thus at very low risk to transmit HBV to their infants.
PMCID: PMC3707427  PMID: 23487379
HIV-1–infected pregnant women; isolated anti-HBc; occult HBV infection; perinatal transmission
14.  Incidence and characteristics of HBV reactivation in hematological malignant patients in south Egypt 
AIM: To investigate characteristics of hepatitis B virus (HBV) implicated in HBV reactivation in patients with hematological malignancies receiving immunosuppressive therapy.
METHODS: Serum samples were collected from 53 patients with hematological malignancies negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) before the start of and throughout the chemotherapy course. HBV reactivation was diagnosed when the HBsAg status changed from negative to positive after the initiation of chemotherapy and/or when HBV DNA was detected by real-time detection polymerase chain reaction (RTD-PCR). For detecting the serological markers of HBV infection, HBsAg as well as antibodies to the core antigen (anti-HBc) and to the surface antigen were measured in the sera by CEIA. Nucleic acids were extracted from sera, and HBV DNA sequences spanning the S gene were amplified by RTD-PCR. The extracted DNA was further subjected to PCR to amplify the complete genome as well as the specific genomic sequences bearing the enhancer II/core promoter/pre-core/core regions (nt 1628-2364). Amplicons were sequenced directly.
RESULTS: Thirty-five (66%) of the 53 HBsAg-negative patients were found to be negative serologically for anti-HBc, and the remaining 18 (34%) patients were positive for anti-HBc. Five of the 53 (9.4%) patients with hematologic malignancies experienced HBV reactivation. Genotype D1 was detected in all five patients. Four types of mutant strains were detected in the S gene product of HBV strains and were isolated from 3 patients with HBV reactivation: T/S120, L143, and I126. HBV DNA was detected in the pretreatment HBsAg-negative samples in one of the five patients with HBV reactivation. In this patient, sequences encompassing the HBV full genome obtained from sera before the start of chemotherapy and at the time of de novo HBV hepatitis were detected and it showed 100% homology. Furthermore, in the phylogenetic tree, the sequences were clustered together, thereby indicating that this patient developed reactivation from an occult HBV infection.
CONCLUSION: Past infection with HBV is a risk factor for HBV reactivation in Egypt. Mandatory anti-HBc screening prior to chemotherapy in patients with hematological malignancies is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3787352  PMID: 24115819
Hepatitis B virus; Occult infection; Reactivation; Hepatitis B surface antigen
15.  Long-Term T-Cell-Mediated Immunologic Memory to Hepatitis B Vaccine in Young Adults Following Neonatal Vaccination. 
Hepatitis Monthly  2014;14(9):e22223.
The long-term duration of cell-mediated immunity induced by neonatal hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination is unknown.
Study was designed to determine the cellular immunity memory status among young adults twenty years after infantile HB immunization.
Patients and Methods:
Study subjects were party selected from a recent seroepidemiologic study in young adults, who had been vaccinated against HBV twenty years earlier. Just before and ten to 14 days after one dose of HBV vaccine booster injection, blood samples were obtained and sera concentration of cytokines (interleukin 2 and interferon) was measured. More than twofold increase after boosting was considered positive immune response. With regard to the serum level of antibody against HBV surface antigen (HBsAb) before boosting, the subjects were divided into four groups as follow: GI, HBsAb titer < 2; GII, titer 2 to 9.9; GIII, titer 10 to 99; and GIV, titers ≥ 100 IU/L. Mean concentration level (MCL) of each cytokines for each group at preboosting and postboosting and the proportion of responders in each groups were determined. Paired descriptive statistical analysis method (t test) was used to compare the MCL of each cytokines in each and between groups and the frequency of responders in each group.
Before boosting, among 176 boosted individuals, 75 (42.6%) had HBsAb 10 IU/L and were considered seroprotected. Among 101 serosusceptible persons, more than 80% of boosted individuals showed more than twofold increase in cytokines concentration, which meant positive HBsAg-specific cell-mediated immunity. MCL of both cytokines after boosting in GIV were decreased more than twofold, possibly because of recent natural boosting.
Findings showed that neonatal HBV immunization was efficacious in inducing long-term immunity and cell-mediated immune memory for up to two decades, and booster vaccination are not required. Further monitoring of vaccinated subjects for HBV infections are recommended.
PMCID: PMC4214124  PMID: 25368659
Cell-Mediated Immunity; Hepatitis B Vaccine; Booster Vaccination
16.  Long-term efficacy of nucleoside monotherapy in preventing HBV infection in HBsAg-negative recipients of anti-HBc-positive donor livers 
Hepatology International  2010;4(4):707-715.
Background and aim
Transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection occurs in up to 87.5% of HBsAg-negative recipients of anti-HBc-positive donor livers in the absence of HBV prophylaxis. There is no standardized prophylactic regimen to prevent HBV infection in this setting. The aim of this study was to determine the long-term efficacy of nucleoside analogue to prevent HBV infection in this setting.
A retrospective study of HBsAg-negative patients receiving liver transplantation (LT) from anti-HBc-positive donors during a 10-year period.
Twenty patients were studied, mean age was 50.2 ± 8.3 years, 40% were men, and 90% were Caucasian. The median MELD score at the time of LT was 18 (12–40). None of the patients received hepatitis B immune globulin. Eighteen patients received nucleoside analogue monotherapy: 10 received lamivudine and 8 received entecavir. None of these 18 patients developed HBV infection after a median follow up of 32 (1–75) months. One patient received a second course of hepatitis B vaccine 50 months after LT with anti-HBs titer above 1,000 mIU/mL. Lamivudine was discontinued and the patient remained HBsAg negative 18 months after withdrawal of lamivudine. Two patients who were anti-HBs positive before LT were not started on HBV prophylaxis after LT; both developed HBV infection after LT.
Nucleoside monotherapy is sufficient in preventing HBV infection in HBsAg-negative recipients of anti-HBc-positive donor livers. HBV prophylaxis is necessary in anti-HBs-positive recipients of anti-HBc-positive donor livers.
PMCID: PMC2994614  PMID: 21286341
Lamivudine; Entecavir; Hepatitis B immune globulin; HBV vaccine; HBV infection
17.  Cellular immunity in children with successful immunoprophylactic treatment for mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:103.
The administration of hepatitis B immunoglobulin followed by hepatitis B vaccine can result in a protective efficacy of almost 90% in mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV). However, little is known about immunity against HBV infection in children after immunoprophylactic treatment. We tried to assess the association between T-cell responses and viremia in children after successful prophylactic treatment.
Thirteen children and their 8 HBV carrier mothers (8 families), who were positive for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A24, were enrolled in this study. All of the 13 children received immunoprophylactic treatment and became negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) after birth. HBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses were evaluated using IFNγ - enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) and major histocompatibility complex class I peptide pentamer assays. Serum HBV DNA was measured by real-time PCR.
Significant HBV-specific T-cell responses were detected in 2 (15%) of the 13 children by ELISPOT. However, the frequency of HLA-A24-HBV-specific CTLs was very low in both HBV carrier mothers and children using pentamers. Of the 13 children, 4 (31%) were positive for serum HBV DNA. However, the levels of serum HBV DNA were 100 copies/ml or less. One of the 2 children in whom significant HBV-specific CTL responses were detectable was positive for serum HBV DNA.
HBV core and polymerase-specific T-cell responses were detected and a low-dose viremia was observed in children after successful immunoprophylaxis treatment. Although the presence of viremia was not related to HBV-specific T-cell responses, CTLs might play a role in the control of HBV infection in children born to HBsAg-positive mothers after immunoprophylactic treatment.
PMCID: PMC2879245  PMID: 20423521
18.  Hepatitis B virus in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: a cross sectional serosurvey in different cohorts 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):457.
Despite hepatitis B vaccination at birth and at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be endemic in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). We carried out a cross-sectional serological study in infants, pre-school children, school pupils and pregnant women to determine their burden of disease, risk of infection and vaccination status.
A total of 2471 participants between 9 months and 46 years old were recruited from urban (Vientiane Capital, Luang Prabang), semi-urban (Boulhikhamxai and Savannakhet) and remote rural areas (Huaphan). All sera were tested for anti-HBs and anti-HBc. Sera testing positive for anti-HBc alone were further tested for the presence of HBsAg.
A low prevalence of HBsAg (0.5%) was detected among infants from Vientiane and Luang Prabang, indicating some success of the vaccination policy. However, only 65.6% had protective anti-HBs antibodies, suggesting that vaccination coverage or responses remain sub-optimal, even in these urban populations.
In pre-school children from remote areas in Huaphan, 21.2% were positive for anti-HBc antibodies, and 4.6% were for HBsAg positive, showing that a significant proportion of children in these rural regions have early exposure to HBV. In pre-school children with 3 documented HBV vaccinations, only 17.0% (15/55) were serologically protected.
Among school-children from semi-urban regions of Luang Prabang, Boulhikhamxai and Savannakhet provinces, those below the age of 9 who were born after HBV vaccine introduction had anti-HBc and HBsAg prevalence of 11.7% and 4.1%, respectively. The prevalence increased to 19.4% and 7.8% of 10–14 year olds and to 27% and 10.2% of 15–19 year olds.
Pregnant women from Luang Prabang and Vientiane had very high anti-HBc and HBsAg prevalence (49.5% and 8.2%), indicating high exposure and risk of onward vertical transmission to the unborn infant.
Overall, the results demonstrate a dramatic deficiency in vaccination coverage and vaccine responses and/or documentation within the regions of Lao PDR studied, which included urbanized areas with better health care access. Timely and effective hepatitis B vaccination coverage is needed in Lao PDR.
PMCID: PMC4158128  PMID: 25149478
Hepatitis B virus; Serology; Vaccine; Cross-sectional
19.  Serum soluble interleukin-2 receptor levels in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and its relation with anti-HBc 
AIM: To investigate the relationship between serum soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) level and anti-HBc in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
METHODS: Sera from 100 patients with chronic HBV infection and 30 healthy controls were included in this study. The patients were divided into group A [HBsAg (+), HBeAg (+) and anti-HBc (+), n = 50] and group B [HBsAg (+), HBeAg (+) and anti-HBc (–), n = 50]. sIL-2R levels were determined using ELISA. HBV DNA and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were also detected.
RESULTS: Serum sIL-2R levels were significantly higher in patients with chronic HBV infection than in healthy controls. Moreover, serum sIL-2R levels were significantly higher in patients with HBsAg (+), HBeAg (+) and anti-HBc (+) (976.56±213.51×103 U/L) than in patients with HBsAg (+), HBeAg (+) and anti-HBc (–) (393.41 ± 189.54×103 U/L, P < 0.01). A significant relationship was found between serum sIL-2R and ALT levels (P < 0.01) in patients with chronic HBV infection, but there was no correlation between sIL-2R and HBV DNA levels. The anti-HBc status was significantly related to the age of patients (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: The high sIL-2R level is related to positive anti-HBc in chronic hepatitis B patients. Positive anti-HBc may be related to T-lymphocyte activation and negative anti-HBc may imply immune tolerance in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4066074  PMID: 16489655
Chronic hepatitis B; Hepatitis B virus; Anti-HBc; Soluble interleukin-2 receptor; Immune tolerance
20.  Significance of anti-HBc only in blood donors: a serological and virological study after hepatitis B vaccination 
Blood Transfusion  2014;12(Suppl 1):s63-s68.
Blood donors positive only for anti-HBc may have a resolved hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, low grade chronic infection or infection with variant strains of HBV. We aimed to assess the significance of this serological pattern after hepatitis B vaccination in such cases.
Materials and methods
Twenty-four anti-HBc only blood donors were vaccinated with the Engerix HBV vaccine and a serological and virological evaluation was performed before HBV vaccination and 7–10 days after each dose. Subjects were classified as non-responders if their anti-HBs levels stayed below 10 IU/L after full vaccination, while the response was considered secondary (anamnestic) if anti-HBs levels rose over 10 IU/L after the first vaccine dose, and primary if anti-HBs levels rose over 10 IU/L only after the second or third vaccine dose.
Of the 21 fully evaluable donors, six had no response, eight showed a primary response and seven had an anamnestic response. One non-responder had transient positivity for HBV-DNA at low levels (12 IU/mL) with persistent negativity for HBsAg.
Anti-HBc-only positive blood donors are a heterogeneous population including HBV naïve subjects with a likely false-positive anti-HBc reactivity, subjects with a resolved HBV infection, and subjects with persistent low-level HBV replication.
The analysis of the anti-HBs response after a dose of HBV vaccine may help to distinguish among the different causes of the isolated anti-HBc positivity, thereby enabling proper counselling and potential readmission to blood donation.
PMCID: PMC3934214  PMID: 23522882
anti-HBc only; anti-HBs kinetics; blood donors; HBV vaccination; occult hepatitis B virus infection
21.  Long-Term Protection against HBV Chronic Carriage of Gambian Adolescents Vaccinated in Infancy and Immune Response in HBV Booster Trial in Adolescence 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(8):e753.
Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) arising in childhood is associated with hepatocellular carcinoma in adult life. Between 1986 and 1990, approximately 120,000 Gambian newborns were enrolled in a randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of infant HBV vaccination on the prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma in adulthood. These children are now in adolescence and approaching adulthood, when the onset of sexual activity may challenge their hepatitis B immunity. Thus a booster dose in adolescence could be important to maintain long-term protection.
Fifteen years after the start of the HBV infant vaccination study, 492 vaccinated and 424 unvaccinated children were identified to determine vaccine efficacy against infection and carriage in adolescence. At the same time, 297 of the 492 infant-vaccinated subjects were randomly offered a booster dose of HBV vaccine. Anti-HBs was measured before the booster, and two weeks and 1 year afterwards (ISRCTN71271385).
Vaccine efficacy 15 years after vaccination was 67.0% against infection as manifest by anti-HBc positivity (95% CI 58.2–74.6%), and 96.6% against HBsAg carriage (95% CI 91.5–100%). 31.2% of participants had detectable anti-HBs with a GMC of 32 IU/l. For 168 boosted participants GMC anti-HBs responses were 38 IU/l prior to vaccination, 524 IU/l two weeks after boosting, and 101 IU/l after 1 year.
HBV vaccination in infants confers very good protection against carriage up to 15 years of age, although a large proportion of vaccinated subjects did not have detectable anti-HBs at this age. The response to boosting persisted for at least a year.
Trial Registration ISRCTN71271385
PMCID: PMC1940311  PMID: 17710152
22.  Antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigen prevent viral reactivation in recipients of liver grafts from anti-HBC positive donors 
Gut  2002;50(1):95-99.
Background and aims: Liver donors with serological evidence of resolved hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) negative, anti-HBV core (HBc) positive) can transmit HBV infection to recipients. In the context of organ shortage, we investigated the efficacy of hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) to prevent HBV infection, and assessed the infectious risk by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for HBV DNA on serum and liver tissue of anti-HBc positive donors.
Patients: Between 1997 and 2000, 22 of 315 patients were transplanted with liver allografts from anti-HBc positive donors. Long term HBIG therapy was administered to 16 recipients. Four naive and two vaccinated patients received no prophylaxis.
Results: Hepatitis B developed in the four HBV naive recipients without prophylaxis and in none of the vaccinated subjects. Among the 16 recipients receiving HBIG, one patient with residual anti-HBs titres below 50 UI/ml became HBsAg positive. The remaining 15 remained HBsAg negative and HBV DNA negative by PCR testing throughout a 20 month (range 4–39) follow up period. HBV DNA was detected by PCR in 1/22 donor serum, and in 11/21 liver grafts with normal histology. A mean of 12 months post-transplantation (range 1–23) HBV DNA was no longer detectable in graft biopsies from patients remaining HBsAg negative.
Conclusion: Anti-HBs antibodies may control HBV replication in liver grafts from anti-HBc positive donors, without additional antiviral drugs. These grafts are thus suitable either to effectively vaccinated recipients or to those who are given HBIG to prevent HBV recurrence.
PMCID: PMC1773074  PMID: 11772974
hepatitis B virus; anti-hepatitis B virus core; liver transplantation; hepatitis B virus infection; liver grafts
23.  Low Prevalence of Hepatitis B and C Virus Markers among Children and Adolescents 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:324638.
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV among children and adolescents attending schools and daycare centres in Rio de Janeiro State, located in southern Brazil. Serum samples from 1,217 individuals aged 0 to 18 years were collected from 1999 to 2012 and tested for HBsAg, total anti-HBc, anti-HBs, and anti-HCV by ELISA. Reactive HBsAg and anti-HBc samples were tested for HBV DNA. Reactive anti-HCV samples were tested for HCV RNA and genotyped by RFLP. HBsAg was detected in 1.8% of individuals, and total anti-HBc was detected among 3.6% of individuals. Anti-HBs reactivity was found among 25.3% (322/1,217) of the individuals and increased from 6.28% in the years 1999-2000 to 76.2% in the years 2001–2012 (P < 0.0001). HBV DNA was detected in 18 of 51 individuals who presented with HBsAg or isolated anti-HBc, and nine were considered occult hepatitis B cases. Three individuals were anti-HCV- and HCV RNA-positive: two of them were infected with genotype 1, and the other was infected with genotype 3. Low levels of HBV and HCV markers were observed in children and adolescents. HBV immunity increased during the period of study, indicating that childhood universal HBV vaccination has been effective for controlling HBV infection in Brazil.
PMCID: PMC4100382  PMID: 25093164
24.  Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B and C Viruses Among Children in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania 
Data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection among children in Africa are limited. We evaluated the seroprevalence of both viruses among healthy, HIV-uninfected children and HIV-infected children in the Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania.
HBV and HCV markers were assessed using serum and plasma samples from HIV-negative children ages 1 month to 18 years, recruited primarily from 2 hospital vaccination clinics; and HIV-infected children 1–16 years of age, enrolled in care and on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HBV markers included hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B surface antibody, and hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb). Evidence of any prior HBV infection was defined as a single positive HBsAg or HBcAb result; presumed chronic hepatitis B infection was defined as a single positive HBsAg result. HCV infection was assessed by anti-HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Samples from 547 children were tested. Of 157 children infected with HIV, 9.6% (95% CI: 4.9, 14.2) showed evidence of any HBV infection, compared to 2.1% (95% CI: .6, 3.5) of HIV-negative children. Children with HIV were much more likely to show evidence of HBV infection than children without HIV (odds ratio [OR] = 5.0, P < .0001). Prevalence of presumed chronic HBV infection was 2.9% (95% CI: 1.5, 4.3) overall. Again, prevalence was higher among HIV-infected children (7.0% [95% CI: 3.0, 11.0]) compared to HIV-negative children (1.3% [95% CI: .2, 2.4]; OR = 5.8 [P = .0003]). Of 546 samples tested for anti-HCV antibody, none were positive.
HBV seroprevalence is high among children in the Kilimanjaro Region, with a significantly higher prevalence among children who are infected with HIV. Routine screening for HBV is needed among HIV-infected children. Patients with coinfection require closer monitoring of liver transaminases due to potential for hepatic toxicities, and they may need HAART regimens that will target both viruses. Guidelines for the management of coinfected children are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC3869471  PMID: 24363930
HIV; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Children; Sub-Saharan Africa
25.  Lower than expected hepatitis B virus infection prevalence among first generation Koreans in the U.S.: results of HBV screening in the Southern California Inland Empire 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:269.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is prevalent in Asian immigrants in the USA. California’s Inland Empire region has a population of approximately four million, including an estimated 19,000 first generation Koreans. Our aim was to screen these adult individuals to establish HBV serological diagnoses, educate, and establish linkage to care.
A community-based program was conducted in Korean churches from 11/2009 to 2/2010. Subjects were asked to complete a HBV background related questionnaire, provided with HBV education, and tested for serum HBsAg, HBsAb and HBcAb. HBsAg positive subjects were tested for HBV quantitative DNA, HBeAg and HBeAb, counseled and directed to healthcare providers. Subjects unexposed to HBV were invited to attend a HBV vaccination clinic.
A total of 973 first generation Koreans were screened, aged 52.3y (18-93y), M/F: 384/589. Most (75%) had a higher than high school education and were from Seoul (62.2%). By questionnaire, 24.7% stated they had been vaccinated against HBV. The serological diagnoses were: HBV infected (3.0%), immune due to natural infection (35.7%), susceptible (20.1%), immune due to vaccination (40.3%), and other (0.9%). Men had a higher infection prevalence (4.9% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.004) and a lower vaccination rate (34.6% vs. 44.0%, p = 0.004) compared to women. Self-reports of immunization status were incorrect for 35.1% of subjects.
This large screening study in first generation Koreans in Southern California demonstrates: 1) a lower than expected HBV prevalence (3%), 2) a continued need for vaccination, and 3) a need for screening despite a reported history of vaccination.
PMCID: PMC4036725  PMID: 24884673
Hepatitis B; Population screening; Korean immigrants; Hepatitis B carrier; Hepatitis B vaccination

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