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versión impresa ISSN 1025-028Xversión On-line ISSN 1025-0298


BELLO-CORREDOR, Marité et al. Occult hepatitis B virus infection in children born of HBsAg-positive mothers. Vaccimonitor [online]. 2016, vol.25, n.1. ISSN 1025-028X.

The occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) is defined as the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and antibodies to core antigens of the HBV (anti-HBc) in the sera or in the plasma and the absence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The current study aimed to characterize the OBI in children born of HBsAg-positive mothers. Serum samples of 291 children with negative HBsAg and anti-HBs <50UI/L collected from all over the country with active-pasive immunization, were screened for anti-HBc antibodies. Those anti-HBc positive sera were subsequently tested by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction to determine and quantify HBV-DNA levels and its correlation with socio-demographics data. The prevalence of anti-HBc positivity was 16.8% (49/291). HBV-DNA was detected in 14% of the examined cases with a low HBV viral load ranging from 2.15 to 3.42 x 101 UI/mL. The overall OBI prevalence rate was 2.1% (6/291). There were no statistically significant differences between the sociodemographic variables studied (age, sex and location). OBI is present among Cuban children born of HBsAg-positive mothers despite prophylaxis against hepatitis B. Therefore, sensitive screening assays for occult HBV infection must be considered and deserves an adequate clinical monitoring of these patients. This study is carried out for the first time in Cuba and makes a useful contribution to prevention and control of hepatitis B in children.

Palabras clave : HBsAg; hepatitis; occult infection; vertical transmission.

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