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J Viral Hepat. 2018 Sep;25(9):1008-1016. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12901. Epub 2018 May 2.

Incidence of hepatitis B virus infection in young Chinese blood donors born after mandatory implementation of neonatal hepatitis B vaccination nationwide.

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Department of Transfusion Medicine, School of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
Guangzhou Blood Center, Guangzhou, China.
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.


This study was carried out to determine the incidence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the young generation born after mandatory implementation of hepatitis B vaccination since 1992. Repeat blood donors born between 1992 and 1997 were enrolled, who gave blood at least twice during the past 3 years. Donors were tested for HBV infection markers of HBsAg, anti-HBc, anti-HBs and viral DNA by immunoassays (EIAs) and nucleic acid tests (NAT). A total of 14 937 pre-donation screening qualified young repeat donors aged 18-23 years were tested with 9 (0.06%) being HBsAg by EIA and 10 (1:1494) HBV DNA positive by Ultrio NAT (10.4 IU/mL), respectively. HBV DNA was further detected in 1:192 (9/1732) anti-HBc+ repeat donors with Ultrio Plus NAT (3.4 IU/mL). Most cases were identified as occult HBV infection (OBI). Of 14 937 repeat donors, 20.9% were anti-HBc+ positive, while approximately 50% of 12 024 repeat donors were anti-HBs negative or had levels <100 IU/L. HBsAg+ or OBI strains were classified as wild type of genotype B or genotype C. Incident HBV infection in repeat donors was approximately 1:18.5 person-years (1.1%/year) but significantly less frequent in donors with confirmed HBV vaccination (2.4%-3.3%) than those unsure of vaccination status (10.5%; P = .0023). Hepatitis B virus vaccination appears largely protective of HBV infection, but incidence of infections increases in young adults with mostly undetectable or low anti-HBs or occasionally high anti-HBs. A boost of hepatitis B vaccine for adolescents prior to age 18 years may reduce HBV infection, and implementation of more sensitive NAT in blood donation screening may improve HBV safety in blood transfusion.


HBV incidence; HBV vaccination; blood donors; blood screening; vaccination strategy

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