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Epidemiol Infect. 2002 Apr;128(2):229-44.

Vaccination against hepatitis B in low endemic countries.

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Department of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


A mathematical model that takes transmission by sexual contact and vertical transmission into account was employed to describe the transmission dynamics of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and vaccination against it. The model is an extension of a model by Williams et al. (Epidemiol Infect 1996: 116; 71-89) in that it takes immigration of hepatitis B carriers from countries with higher prevalence into account. Model parameters were estimated from data from The Netherlands where available. The main results were that, given the estimates for the parameters describing sexual behaviour in The Netherlands, the basic reproduction number R0 is smaller than 1 in the heterosexual population. As a consequence, the immigration of carriers into the population largely determines the prevalence of HBV carriage and therefore limits the possible success of universal vaccination. Taking into account the prevalence of hepatitis B carriage among immigrants and an age-dependent probability of becoming a carrier after infection, we estimate that a fraction of between 5 and 10% of carrier states could be prevented by universal vaccination.

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