Multiple intra-familial transmission patterns of hepatitis B virus genotype D in north-eastern Egypt


  • Mostafa Ragheb and Abeer Elkady contributed equally to this study.


The transmission rate of intra-familial hepatitis B virus (HBV) and mode of transmission were investigated in north eastern Egypt. HBV infection was investigated serologically and confirmed by molecular evolutionary analysis in family members (N = 230) of 55 chronic hepatitis B carriers (index cases). Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) prevalence was 12.2% and 23% among family members, respectively. HBsAg carriers were prevalent in the age groups; <10 (16.2%) and 21–30 years (23.3%). The prevalence of HBsAg was significantly higher in the family members of females (19.2%) than males (8.6%) index cases (P = 0.031). HBsAg and anti-HBc seropositive rates were higher significantly in the offspring of females (23%, 29.8%) than those of the males index cases (4.3%, 9.8%) (P = 0.001, 0.003), as well as higher in the offspring of an infected mother (26.5, 31.8%) than those of an infected father (4.7%, 10.5%) (P = 0.0006, 0.009). No significant difference was found in HBsAg seropositive rates between vaccinated (10.6%) and unvaccinated family members (14.8%). Phylogenetic analysis of the preS2 and S regions of HBV genome showed that the HBV isolates were of subgenotype D1 in nine index cases and 14 family members. HBV familial transmission was confirmed in five of six families with three transmission patterns; maternal, paternal, and sexual. It is concluded that multiple intra-familial transmission routes of HBV genotype D were determined; including maternal, paternal and horizontal. Universal HBV vaccination should be modified by including the first dose at birth with (HBIG) administration to the newborn of mothers infected with HBV. J. Med. Virol. 84:587–595, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.