Hepatitis B virus transmission in pre-adolescent schoolchildren in four multi-ethnic areas of England


Balogun, MA; Parry, JV; Mutton, K; Okolo, C; Benons, L; Baxendale, H; Hardiman, T; Boxall, EH; Sira, J; Brown, M; Barnett, S; Gungabissoon, U; Williams, A; Kelly, DA; Vijeratnam, S; Ijaz, S; Taylor, B; Teo, CG; Ramsay, ME; (2013) Hepatitis B virus transmission in pre-adolescent schoolchildren in four multi-ethnic areas of England. Epidemiology and infection, 141 (5). pp. 916-925. ISSN 0950-2688 DOI: 10.1017/S0950268812001513

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of childhood hepatitis B virus transmission in children born in the UK, a very low-prevalence country, that is preventable only by universal hepatitis B immunization of infants. Oral fluid specimens were collected from schoolchildren aged 7-11 years in four inner city multi-ethnic areas and tested for the presence of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc). Those found positive or indeterminate were followed up with testing on serum to confirm their hepatitis B status. The overall prevalence of anti-HBc in children was low [0.26%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14-0.44]. The estimated average annual incidence of hepatitis B was estimated to be 29.26/100 000 children (95% CI 16.00-49.08). The total incidence that is preventable only by a universal infant immunization programme in the UK was estimated to be between 5.00 and 12.49/100 000. The study demonstrates that the extent of horizontal childhood hepatitis B virus transmission is low in children born in the UK and suggests that schools in the UK are an uncommon setting for the transmission of the virus. Targeted hepatitis B testing and immunization of migrants from intermediate- and high-prevalence countries is likely to be a more effective measure to reduce childhood transmission than a universal infant immunization programme.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
PubMed ID: 22849968
Web of Science ID: 317064800003
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/856691

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