Hepatitis B vaccine: further studies in children with previously acquired hepatitis B surface antigenemia.


Three doses of inactivated hepatitis B vaccine were given at 1-month intervals to 31 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive Senegalese children aged between 3 and 24 months. A control group of 18 HBsAg-positive Senegalese children received diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. Immunization of HBsAg-positive infants with hepatitis B vaccine was safe but inefficient. After a 12-month follow-up, the prevalence of HBsAg chronic carriers was not significantly reduced in the hepatitis B vaccine group as compared with the control group: 48.4 and 66.7%, respectively. The presence of hepatitis B antigen was found to be a major risk factor for HBsAg-positive children to develop a chronic carrier state. The risk of developing an HBsAg chronic carrier state was also related to advancing age at time of enrollment in the study.

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