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J Med Virol. 2013 Aug;85(8):1327-33. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23594. Epub 2013 May 30.

Nationwide seroepidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection in South Korea in 2009 emphasizes the coexistence of HBsAg and anti-HBs.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the major cause of chronic liver disease in Korea. This study investigated the seroprevalence of HBV infection with an emphasis on the coexistence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody (anti-HBs). In all, 290,212 people undergoing health check-up examinations in 29 institutions during 2009 were recruited. The crude seroprevalences of HBsAg and anti-HBs was adjusted by age, sex, and geographic area using the 2009 estimated population of Korea. The adjusted seroprevalences of HBsAg and anti-HBs was 4.0% and 73.5%, respectively. Males showed higher HBsAg positivity and lower anti-HBs positivity than females (P<0.001). HBsAg positivity increased with age from 3.5% in people 20-29 years old to 4.8% in people 40-49 years old, followed by a decrease in people ≥ 50 years old. HBsAg positivity in Southern provinces (4.5%) including Jeju (5.9%), was significantly higher than that in Central provinces (3.6%; P<0.001). Interestingly, HBsAg and anti-HBs coexisted in 0.1% of the total subjects and in 2.9% of the HBsAg-positive group, showing distinct age distribution and higher alanine aminotransferase levels than those of the group positive for only HBsAg. In conclusion, the seroprevalence of HBsAg and anti-HBs in Korea varies significantly by age, sex and geographical location and coexisted in 2.9% of HBsAg-positive subjects. Continuous monitoring of seroepidemiology may facilitate the eventual eradication of HBV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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