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Virol J. 2012 Mar 8;9:62. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-62.

A low proportion of HBeAg among HBsAg-positive pregnant women with known HIV status could suggest low perinatal transmission of HBV in Cameroon.

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  • 1Virology Service, Centre Pasteur du Cameroun, Membre du RĂ©seau International des Instituts Pasteur, BP 1274 Yaounde, Cameroon.



Transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) from HBV-positive mothers to their infants is common and usually occurs when the mother is hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive and/or has a high HBV DNA load. In this study, we determined the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBeAg among pregnant women with known HIV status.


A total of 650 pregnant women with a mean age of 26.2 years including 301 HIV-positives and 349 HIV-negatives were screened for HBsAg (Monolisa AgHBs Plus Biorad, France). Among the HBsAg-positives, HBeAg and anti-HBe were tested (Monolisa Ag HBe Plus Biorad, France). Overall, 51 (7.85%) were positive for HBsAg. The prevalence of HBsAg was not statistically different between HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women [28/301 (9.3%) vs 23/349 (6.59%); p = 0.2]. None of the 45 HBsAg-positive samples was reactive for HBeAg.


Our study indicates a high prevalence of HBsAg with very low proportion of HBeAg in Cameroonian pregnant women. Since perinatal transmission of HBV is mostly effective when the mother is also HBeAg-positive, our data could suggest that perinatal transmissions play a minor role in HBV prevalence in Cameroon. In line with previous African studies, these findings further suggests that horizontal transmission could be the most common mechanism of HBV infections in Cameroon.

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