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J Infect Dis. 2001 Oct 1;184(7):905-8. Epub 2001 Aug 14.

Effectiveness of hepatitis B vaccination in babies born to hepatitis B surface antigen-positive mothers in Italy.

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Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


This study examined 522 children born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive mothers from 1985 through 1994 and evaluated the protection provided by anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) immunization at birth. Babies were given hepatitis B immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccine at birth. At 5-14 years after immunization, 17 children (3.3%) were anti-HB core antigen positive, and 3 also were HBsAg positive. One carrier child had a double mutation, with substitution of proline-->serine at codons 120 (P120S) and 127 (P127S) within the a determinant of HBsAg. Of the 522 children, 400 (79.2%) of 505 still had protective anti-HBsAg titers > or =10 mIU/mL. Thus, HBV vaccination of children born to HBsAg-positive mothers is effective and confers long-term immunity. There is no evidence that the emergence of HBV escape mutants secondary to the immune pressure against wild-type HBV is of concern.

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