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J Med Virol. 2011 May;83(5):783-90. doi: 10.1002/jmv.22055. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Impact of universal vaccination on intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis B virus.

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School of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan.


To control hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, a nationwide vaccination program was launched in 1984 and resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of persistent infection of children. However, the relative contribution of vaccination to the intrafamilial clustering of HBV infection remains unclear. The rate of intrafamilial HBV transmission in vaccinated children was investigated. Eighty-four sera from vaccinated children were enrolled and HBV serum markers were determined. The modes of intrafamilial HBV transmission were investigated by history taking and serological assay, and confirmed by genotyping and phylogenetic analysis. The results showed 66 (78.6%) vaccinated children born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative parents were HBsAg-negative. Eighteen vaccinees were born to HBsAg-positive parents; four (21.4%) of the children were HBsAg-positive. According to the parents' HBsAg status, three patterns of HBsAg-positive parents were identified. Serological analysis showed that three of 15 children born to HBsAg-positive mother (pattern I) and one of two children born to HBsAg-positive father became infected (pattern II). The remaining one child was HBsAg negative with both parents positive for HBsAg (pattern III). Genotyping and phyogenetic analysis confirmed the mode of intrafamilial transmissions. Sequence analysis of S and pre-S genes showed that HBV isolates of HBsAg-positive vaccinees were variants; no G145R but G145A and other substitutions were found. In conclusion, this small study showed that both maternal and paternal transmissions are important of the intrafamilial spread of HBV infection. In addition, the introduction of HBV vaccination has resulted in a reduction of intrafamilial transmission, but a study of a large population is needed.

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