Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive and HBsAg-negative hepatitis B virus infection among mother-teenager pairs 13 years after neonatal hepatitis B virus vaccination

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Journal Article
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 2013, 20 (2), pp. 269 - 275
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It is unclear whether a mother who is negative for hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) but positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) is at potential risk for mother-to-child transmission of HBV. This study, using a paired mother-teenager population, aimed to assess whether maternal HBsAg-negative HBV infection (hnHBI) is a significant source of child HBV infection (HBI). A follow-up study with blood collection has been conducted on the 93 mother-teenager pairs from the initial 135 pregnant womannewborn pairs 13 years after neonatal HBV vaccination. Serological and viral markers of HBV have been tested, and phylogenetic analysis of HBV isolates has been done. The HBI prevalence was 1.9% (1 hnHBI/53) for teenage children of non-HBI mothers, compared with 16.7% (1 hnHBI/6) for those of hnHBI mothers and 2.9% (1 HBsAg-positive HBV infection [ hpHBI]/34) for those of hpHBI mothers. Similar viral sequences have been found in one pair of whom both the mother and teenager have had hnHBI. In comparison with the hpHBI cases, those with hnHBI had a lower level of HBV load and a higher proportion of genotype-C strains, which were accompanied by differentiated mutations (Q129R, K141E, and Y161N) of the "a" determinant of the HBV surface gene. Our findings suggest that mother-to-teenager transmission of hnHBI can occur among those in the neonatal HBV vaccination program. Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
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