Exposure to hepatitis B virus and development of the chronic HBAg carrier state in children
Endocrine System Diseases
Paired serum samples from 200 U. S. children and 1,165 children from West Africa and two Pacific Islands were tested for the presence of hepatitis B antigen (HBAg) and antibodies to hepatitis B antigen (anti-HBAg). Sera from normal U. S. children were nonreactive for HBAg; comparable sera from overseas children showed antigen in 2.0 to 10.9 per cent-a prevalence significantly higher than the 0.2 per cent reported for U. S. adults. "Per cent carriers," calculated to reflect the per cent of individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) who become chronic carriers of HBAg, ranged from 28.6 to 40.0 for children in the study groups compared with 1.8 to 3.5 calculated for U. S. adults. The study demonstrates that children more frequently become chronic HBAg carriers following infection with hepatitis B virus than do U. S. adults. The likelihood of development of chronic HBAg carriers in the study groups did not appear to correlate with HBV subtype or with the sex or geographic origin of the children. © 1974 The C. V. Mosby Company.
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