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Vaccine. 1999 Nov 12;18(7-8):581-7.

Long-term efficacy of immunization against hepatitis B virus in infants at high-risk analyzed by polymerase chain reaction.

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The First Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Japan.


Perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a common cause of chronic infection. In the present study, we evaluated the long-term efficacy of immunization against HBV in infants at high-risk, by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Two hundred and fifty-one infants received hepatitis B immunoglobulin at birth and a course of hepatitis B vaccine within 6 months of age between 1981 and 1993. Of 251 infants, 203 (81%) and 97 (39%) were followed until 1 and 4-6 years of age, respectively. HBV-DNA was detected by PCR in 74 (36%) of 203 children at 1 year of age, while the prevalence rate of children positive for HBV-DNA decreased to 14 (14%) of 97 children at 4-6 years of age, including 2 children who had the breakthrough variants of HBV. Our results indicate that most of HBV infections occur early, during the first year, and that immunization against HBV effectively protects infants at high-risk against viral transmission, at least up to 4-6 years of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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