Publications & Reports

Hepatitis B infection in rural Vietnam and the implications for a national program of infant immunization.

Hipgrave DB, Nguyen TV, Vu MH, Hoang TL, Do TD, Tran NT, Jolley D, Maynard JE, Biggs BA
International Health Unit, The Burnet Institute, Alfred Medical Research & Education Precinct, Melbourne, Australia.


To ascertain hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection rates for Vietnam, we surveyed HBV markers in two districts of Thanh Hoa province. We randomly selected 536 infants (9- < or = 18 months old), 228 children (4 to < or = 6 years old), 219 adolescents (14 to < or = 16 years old), and 596 adults (25 to < or = 40 years old). On questioning, none of those surveyed had received vaccine against HBV. Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) and total HBV core antibody (anti-HBc) were measured in all specimens, and HBV e antigen (HBeAg) in those positive for HBsAg, and HBV surface antibody (anti-HBs) were measured in all others. Current infection (HBsAg+) rates were infants = 12.5%, children = 18.4%, adolescents = 20.5%, and adults = 18.8%. Current or previous infection (HBsAg+, anti-HBc+, or anti-HBs+) increased with age (infants = 19.6%, children = 36.4%, adolescents = 55.3%, adults = 79.2%). Rates of HBeAg among those HBsAg+ were infants = 85.1%, children = 88.1%, adolescents = 71.1%, and adults = 30.4%. The epidemiology of HBV in Vietnam resembles that of many southeast Asian nations before introduction of vaccine. Immunization of newborns will have enormous impact on HBV-related morbidity and mortality there.


  • Journal: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • Published: 01/09/2003
  • Volume: 69
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 288-294