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Keywords:

  • HBV vaccine;
  • prenatal transmission;
  • horizontal transmission;
  • Uzbekistan

Abstract

A national program of universal vaccination for the prevention of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was launched in Uzbekistan since 1998. To evaluate the 6 years' outcome of the program, 567 children were enrolled in the study. Among those enrolled, 333 had immunized with adw2 type based Engerix-B (Glaxo Smith Kline Beechem, Rixensart, Belgium) and 48 with adr type based Hepavax-Gene (Green Cross Vaccine Corporation, Korea). A cohort of 186 children born before the immunization program, was also included in the study. When 45 vaccinated children were compared to age/sex-matched 45 unvaccinated children, the sero-prevalence of HBsAg was 0 versus 11% (P = 0.56), and of anti-HBc was 0% versus 44% (P < 0.0001), respectively. Loss of anti-HBs was observed in 18.4% after 5 years. Among 13 HBsAg carriers found in this study, genotype HBV/D was found in 69%, HBV/A in 23% (all in unvaccinated group) and HBV/C in 8% (in vaccinated group). No significant differences were observed in this study between groups which received different vaccine formulation. Phylogenetic analysis of the HBV isolates obtained from family members of the HBsAg-positive children, revealed evidence suggesting that transmission in the vaccinated group was exclusively perinatal, whereas in the unvaccinated group horizontal transmission pattern predominated. In conclusion, HBV universal vaccination is efficient in Uzbekistan irrespective of the vaccine formulation used, because the horizontal transmission pattern predominates currently in this endemic region. J. Med. Virol. 80:217–224, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.