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J Infect. 2006 Mar;52(3):202-6. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

Sero-epidemiology of hepatitis B infection in pregnant women in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

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Ministry of Health, Sultanate Oman, P.O. Box 393, PC 113 Muscat, Oman.



The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the prevalence of hepatitis B 'e' antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in pregnant women in the Gulf States.


A total of 1710 pregnant women aged 15-45 years were enrolled in June-July 2000 in nine centres across Oman, Qatar and Unite Arab Emirates. The percentage of HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-positive individuals was determined.


Serology results were available for 1694 women. A total of 7.1% of the women in Oman, 1% in Qatar and 1.5% in UAE were HBsAg-positive. Three (0.5%) women in Oman were HBeAg-positive. Risk factors identified for being HBsAg-positive were younger age, being a national (i.e. not an expatriate) and residing outside the city.


Results from this study have shown that hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence in pregnant women is of intermediate endemicity in Oman and of low endemicity in Qatar and UAE. Thus, universal vaccination of all female adolescents before potential pregnancy is recommended in Oman in order to prevent perinatal infection, as well as to minimize horizontal transmission of the HBV in the community.

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