Serologic characteristics of hepatitis B virus among hill-tribe children in Omkoi district, Chiangmai province, Thailand
Introduction: Thailand has integrated hepatitis B (HB) vaccination of newborns into the national Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in 1992. This has led to a dramatic decrease of HBsAg prevalence in children. However, HB vaccine coverage in remote areas is not well-known. This study aimed to investigate serologic characteristics of hepatitis B virus (HBV) among hill-tribe children in Omkoi District, Chiangmai Province, Thailand.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted on stored samples collected from hill-tribe children attending the primary/secondary school in Omkoi District in December 2014. Sera were tested for HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc using enzyme immunoassays (MUREX, DiaSorin, Italy). Samples with anti-HBc positive were further assessed for HBV DNA using an in-house HBV DNA semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay.
Results: Of 210 children evaluated, 4 (1.9%:95% CI 0.5-4.8) were HBsAg-positive. Of the 206 children HBsAg negative, 17 were anti-HBc and anti-HBs positive, 15 anti-HBc positive only, 26 anti-HBs positive only and 148 negative for both anti-HBc and anti-HBs. None of the children with anti-HBc were positive for HBV DNA.
Conclusions: A high percentage of children had no markers of HBV protection suggesting that HB vaccine coverage was not optimal in this area. Our results warrant HBV serologic investigations in other remote areas to assess whether HB vaccine coverage needs to be improved and to identify children who should be vaccinated.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).