Seroepidemiology and efficacy of a mass hepatitis B immunization program in children in Derna, Libya.

Original article


Foad Elmagri 1,Omar El-Shourbagy 2

1-Departments of Pediatrics, and 2-Community Medicine, Derna Faculty of Medicine, Omar Almukhtar University, Libya

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 1, No.2. July-2007:110-115


Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection represents a serious public health problem in many countries of the world. Libya was considered as one of the countries with a prevalence of 2.2% infection. A mass hepatitis B vaccination program was conducted to overcome this health problem.
Objectives: To determine the frequency of serological markers of HBV among children born after the HB vaccination program; and to evaluate the immune response to HBV vaccine.
Subjects and methods: A case-control study included 300 children with age ranging from 12 months to 72 months randomly selected from community health center in Derna, Libya, during the year 2006. They were tested for HB markers including Anti-HBs, Anti-HBc.
Results: The protection rate among completely HB-vaccinated children (3 doses) was 96.7%, significantly higher than that in incompletely vaccinated children (one or two doses only) 91.3% (P< 0.05). The infection rate was 3.3% among completely vaccinated children, while it reached 8.7% among incompletely vaccinated children. Two percent and 6% of the completely and incompletely vaccinated children were positive for HBsAg, respectively (P >0.05).
Conclusion: This study indicates the efficacy of HBV vaccination. But to achieve maximum protection it is important to adhere to the complete vaccination schedule.

Keywords: hepatitis B; children; vaccination; seroprevalence.