The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics 2009 , Vol 51 , Num 2
Seroprevalence of hepatitis B infection in the Turkish population in Northern Cyprus
1Departments of Pediatrics, Ege University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey
2Departments of Microbiology, Ege University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey
aSıdıka Kayımbaşoğlu, Sonay Özbalıkçı, Gülten Erçal, Emine Güllüelli, Figen Bakkaloğlu, Ertan Doğan, Hasan Garabli, Hüseyin Erçal and Cemal Mert
Kurugöl Z, Koturoğlu G, Akşit S, Özacar T, Northern Cyprus Study Team. Seroprevalence of hepatitis B infection in the Turkish population in Northern Cyprus. Turk J Pediatr 2009; 51: 120-126.

This study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the Turkish population in Northern Cyprus. The secondary aim of this study was to assess the impact of the universal infant hepatitis B vaccination program, which started in 1998. A total of 600 persons 1 to 30 years old were selected for the study with cluster sampling. The information on sociodemographic characteristics was gathered for each participant and in 585 of them, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), anti-hepatitis B surface antigen antibody (anti-HBs) and anticore antibody (anti-HBc) were tested. The overall prevalence of anti-HBc and HBsAg carriage was 13.2% and 0.85%, respectively. Old age and low parental educational level were the major independent risk factors for HBV transmission. Seroprevalence of both anti-HBc and anti-HBs antibodies was similar in children 1-7 years of age. After 8 years of age, anti-HBc seroprevalence increased significantly with age, while anti-HBs prevalence decreased (p<0.001). Anti-HBc prevalence increased from 7.0% in children aged 1-7 years to 17.9% in persons aged 16-20 years. None of the children under 12 years of age were HBsAg-positive, while 1.9% of persons aged 16-20 years were HBsAg carriers. Anti-HBs seroprevalence exceeding 90% was found in the cohorts targeted by the routine hepatitis B vaccination program, whereas 36.4% of young adults aged 21-30 years were anti-HBs-positive. The study shows that universal infant hepatitis B immunization has a substantial impact on the immunity in children. However, prevalence of HBV infection is still high in adolescent and young adults in Northern Cyprus. Therefore, catch-up immunization for these groups will help to reduce hepatitis B transmission. Keywords : hepatitis B immunization, epidemiology, vaccine

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