Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B Virus among Pregnant Women in Northern Turkey


Yavuz Uyar 1 , * , Cevat Cabar 2 , Alaaddin Balci 2

1 Refik Saydam National Public Health Agency (RSNPHA), Virology Reference and Research Laboratory, Sihhiye, [email protected], Ankara, Turkey

2 Microbiology Laboratory, Samsun Maternity and Women's Disease and Pediatrics Hospital, Turkey

How to Cite: Uyar Y, Cabar C, Balci A. Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B Virus among Pregnant Women in Northern Turkey, Hepat Mon. Online ahead of Print ; 9(2):146-149.


Hepatitis Monthly: 9 (2); 146-149
Article Type: Brief Report
Received: January 13, 2009
Accepted: April 27, 2009


Background and Aims: Prevention of vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is extremely important because HBV infection in early life usually results in a chronic carrier state. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of HBV markers among pregnant women in the Middle Black Sea Region in Turkey.

Methods: Between March 2003 and May 2004, 2654 women in the first trimester of pregnancy who attended the Samsun Maternity and Women's Disease and Pediatrics Hospital pregnancy fallow-up clinics were enrolled into this study. Blood samples were taken and tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), antibody against hepatitis B e antigen (anti-HBe), hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), and total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) tests were studied for only HBsAg positive cases.

Results: HBsAg was found positive in 56 (2.1%; 95% CI: 1.6%-2.7%) and negative in 2598 (97.9%) women. Serological markers of HBV could be investigated in 40 HBsAg-positive cases. HBeAg and anti-HBe were found positive in 5 (12.5%; 95% CI: 2.3%-22.8%) and 31 (77.5%; 95% CI: 64.6%-90.4%) cases, respectively. In all the 40 patients, anti-HBc was found positive and anti-HBs was negative.

Conclusions: Despite routine vaccination introduced in the Turkey national program, we suggest that pregnant women be routinely investigated for HBV infection. In this way, feto-maternal transmission of HBV may be reduced that might play an important role to break the cycle of HBV infection in Turkey.

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