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COMMUNICABLE DISEASES - CORRESPONDENCE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 662

Hepatitis B vaccination among the Nicobarese tribe: Need to document the impact


National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), R127, 3RD Avenue, Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Ayapakkam, Chennai 600 077, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Murhekar
National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), R127, 3RD Avenue, Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Ayapakkam, Chennai 600 077, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159574

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How to cite this article:
Murhekar M. Hepatitis B vaccination among the Nicobarese tribe: Need to document the impact. Indian J Med Res 2015;141:662

How to cite this URL:
Murhekar M. Hepatitis B vaccination among the Nicobarese tribe: Need to document the impact. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 May 31];141:662. Available from: http://www.ijmr.org.in/text.asp?2015/141/5/662/159574

Sir,

Hepatitis B virus infection was found be hyperendemic among the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands, with HBsAg positivity ranging from 4 per cent among the Great Andamanese, 23 per cent among Nicobarese, 31 per cent among Onges, 38 per cent among Shompens to 66 per cent among Jarawas [1] . Following the reports of high endemicity among these tribes, hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in the childhood vaccination programme for tribal as well as non-tribal children in these islands. Sugunan et al[2] in their study on seroprotection after hepatitis B vaccination among the Nicobarese tribe of Andaman and Nicobar islands reported that 86 per cent of the Nicobarese who received three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (Shanvac B) were seroprotected five years after the vaccination. It is reasonable to believe that the hepatitis B vaccine/s used in the childhhod vaccination programme since 2005 are of comparable immunogenicity (and efficacy) as that of Shanvac B.

In India, there are limited data about the impact of hepatitis B vaccination programme [3] . Seroprotection is not an ideal indicator to measure the 'impact' of vaccination. Three indicators are generally recommended: vaccination coverage, prevalence of HBsAg among young children and reduction in the prevalence since vaccination and reduction in the incidence of liver cancer [4] . As per the Coverage Evaluation survey 2009, the combined coverage of hepatitis B vaccine in Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshdweep islands was 47 per cent for the birth dose, 75 per cent for the first, 72 per cent for the second and 66 per cent for the third dose [5.] Information about the incidence of liver cancer is not available from Andaman and Nicobar islands. It has been nearly a decade since the hepatitis B vaccination programme was initiated in these islands. It is very timely that a serosurvey is conducted in these islands to estimate the prevalence of HBsAg among Nicobarese children, document the reduction in the prevalence and thereby measure the 'real impact' of hepatitis B vaccination programme.

 
   References Top

1.
Murhekar MV , Murhekar KM, Sehgal SC. Epidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection among the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2008; 102 : 729-34.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Sugunan AP, Bhattacharya H, Bhattacharya D, Mandal A, Ghosal SR, Rao RC, et al. Impact of hepatitis B immunization among the Nicobarese tribe - antibody titres & seroprotection five years after vaccination. Indian J Med Res 2014; 139 : 427-30.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Puliyel JM, Rastogi P, Mathew JL. Hepatitis B in India: Systematic review & report of the 'IMA sub-committee on immunization'. Indian J Med Res 2008; 127 : 494-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization (WHO). Introduction of hepatitis B vaccine into childhood immunization services. Management guidelines, including information for health workers and parents. Geneva: WHO; 2001. WHO/V&B/01.31.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Coverage evaluation survey 2009. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/sowmy/resources/docs/library/R309_UNICEF_2010_INDIA_ 2009CoverageSurvey.pdf, accessed on July 28, 2014.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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