Research Article| Volume 47, ISSUE 3, P231-235, October 2003

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Changing epidemiology of HBV infection in Danish children


      Hepatitis B continues to be a worldwide threat to human health, especially if infection occurs in childhood. Universal vaccination is recommended by WHO, but has not been implemented in the Scandinavian countries, Holland and UK, because of a low incidence rate. However, clinically overt infections are rare in childhood. We therefore performed a nation wide serosurvey for HBV markers in 2428 children aged primarily 6–16 years from 16 primary schools in Denmark. Anti-HBc was found in altogether 20 children (0.8%), 12 of whom were among 144 immigrant children (8.3%) compared to 8 (0.4%) in those born in Denmark. Three of the children, all immigrants, were HBsAg positive indicating chronic infection. At school level no relation of anti-HBc in Danish born children was found to schools with high number of immigrant children or schools with HBsAg positive children indicating a low risk of Hepatitis B transmission in this setting. The results do not support implementation of general vaccination, but stress the need for HBV screening in immigrants as it provides a mean for immunization of close contacts at risk and information on prevention.


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