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Scand J Public Health. 2011 Jul;39(5):464-70. doi: 10.1177/1403494811399653. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Infectious immune status in an obstetric population of Pakistani immigrants in Norway.

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  • 1University of Oslo, Medical Faculty, Norway, Norway. eng@online.no

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate cytomegalovirus, rubella, varicella, toxoplasma, and hepatitis B immune status and factors associated with susceptibility for infections among Pakistani pregnant women in Norway.

METHODS:

A total of 206 pregnant Pakistani women living in Norway participated in the evaluation. Blood samples were collected during pregnancy and tested for IgG antibodies against cytomegalovirus, rubella virus, varicella-zoster virus, Toxoplasma gondii, and hepatitis B (HB) virus.

RESULTS:

All women had IgG antibodies against cytomegalovirus. Positivity for rubella IgG was 92%, 93% had varicella IgG antibodies, while 17% had toxoplasma IgG. Eleven per cent were anti-HBc positive, one of whom was HBsAg positive, which means that blood and cervix secretions are infectious with risk of virus transmission to the baby at the time of birth. Six women were only anti-HBc positive, they may have low-level HB infection, and risk of transmission cannot be excluded. Age younger than 25 years, having less than two children, and having lived less than 5 years in Norway were factors significantly associated with varicella-seronegative status, and thus susceptible for primary infection.

CONCLUSIONS:

To decrease the incidence of neonatal and maternal morbidity related to rubella, varicella, toxoplasma, and hepatitis B in our Pakistani immigrant population, we should intensify our rubella antenatal screening programme and focus upon rubella vaccination postpartum. We should offer varicella-seronegative women immunisation, advise toxoplasma-seronegative women to avoid visit to their home country during pregnancy, and give hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns regardless of maternal HBsAg status.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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