Distribution of hepatitis B infection in Brazil: the epidemiological situation at the beginning of the 21 st century


Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop.




Abstract Brazil was formerly considered a country with intermediate hepatitis B endemicity, with large heterogeneity between Brazilian regions and areas of high prevalence, especially in the Amazon basin. Systematic vaccination of children was initiated in 1998. Between 2004 and 2009, a large population-based study reported decreased prevalence in all regions of Brazil. This review analyzed the current hepatitis B epidemiological situation in Brazil through a systematic search of the scientific literature in MEDLINE, LILACS, and CAPES thesis database, as well as disease notifications to the Information System for Notifiable Diseases. The search strategy identified 87 articles and 13 theses, resulting in 100 total publications. The most recent results indicate reduced hepatitis B prevalence nationwide, classifying Brazil as having low endemicity. Most studies showed HBV carrier prevalence less than 1%. However, there are still isolated regions with increased prevalence, particularly the Amazon, as well as specific groups, such as homeless people in large cities and isolated Afro-descendant communities in the center of the country. This review alsao detected successful vaccination coverage reported in a few studies around the country. The prevalence of anti-HBs alone ranged from 50% to 90%. However, isolated and distant localities still have low coverage rates. This review reinforces the downward trend of hepatitis B prevalence in Brazil and the need to intensify vaccination strategies for young people and adults in specific regions with persisting higher HBV infection prevalence.

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