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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is an important worldwide public health problem. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health estimates that 15% of the population has had contact with HBV, and that the mean rate of chronic carriers in Northeastern Brazil is around 0.5%. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of HBV markers in pregnant women receiving prenatal care at the public maternity hospitals of São Luís. Demographical and epidemiological data were collected from 541 pregnant women according to the research protocol. Blood samples were collected, and the anti-HBc test was performed first. If positive, the sample was subsequently tested for HBsAg and anti-HBs. All HBsAg and/or anti-HBc positive samples were additionally tested for HBV-DNA. 40 (7.4%) pregnant women turned out positive for anti-HBc. Of those, five (0.9%) were HBsAg positive, four (0.7%) were anti-HBc positive with negative HBsAg and anti-HBs, and 31 (5.7%) were positive for anti-HBc and anti-HBs. Anti-HBc positivity was associated with family history of hepatitis and education level below 11 years of schooling. HBV-DNA was positive in only one HBsAg-positive sample. There was no HBV-DNA positivity among HBsAg negative samples. The prevalence of HBsAg in pregnant women in this study confirmed that São Luís is a low endemicity area. Occult hepatitis B was not detected in these samples. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.


Marinilde Teles Souza, Tainá Lima Reis de Pinho, Max Diego Cruz Santos, Alexsandro dos Santos, Vera Lúcia Monteiro, Lena Maria Barros Fonsêca, Pedro Antônio Muniz Ferreira, Adalgisa de Souza Paiva Ferreira. Prevalence of hepatitis B among pregnant women assisted at the public maternity hospitals of São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil. The Brazilian journal of infectious diseases : an official publication of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases. 2012 Nov-Dec;16(6):517-20

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PMID: 23168305

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