Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 653-661

Status of hepatitis B infection - a decade after hepatitis B vaccination of susceptible Nicobarese, an indigenous tribe of Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) islands with high hepatitis B endemicity

1 Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Port Blair, India
2 Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Port Blair; Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Belgaum, India

Correspondence Address:
A P Sugunan
Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Post Bag No.13, Port Blair 744 101, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159573

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Background & objectives: Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, home to six primitive tribes, constituting about 10 per cent of the total population of these Islands have been detected with high endemicity of hepatitis B infection. During 2000, a total of 936 individuals ≤ 45 yr, negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody anti-HBs were vaccinated with three doses of a recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine in two villages of Car Nicobar Islands. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of the hepatitis B vaccination with respect to the persistence of antibodies and incidence of new infections, prevalence of surface gene mutations among the Nicobarese community in the two villages ten years after hepatitis B vaccination. Methods: Follow up samples were collected from 211 individuals who had received three doses of vaccine ten years back and from a control group of 515 non-vaccinated individuals. The HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc assay results were compared among vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. HBV DNA was extracted and sequenced from all the samples for detection of mutation. Genotyping and serotyping of the viruses were performed. Results: The results showed that 85.3 per cent of the vaccinated persons retained protective level of antibodies and among the non-vaccinated individuals, 54.2 per cent showed presence of anti-HBs indicating an exposure to the infection. The overall HBsAg positivity among the studies Nicobarese individuals was reduced to 7.4 per cent after 10 years of vaccination. Anti-HBc was positive in 60.6 and 57 per cent among the vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, respectively. Overall breakthrough infection of 8.5 per cent was detected among the vaccinated individuals. The predominant genotype and serotype circulating among these tribal populations were D and ayw3, respectively. Interpretation & conclusions: The results of this study showed an overall reduction in the pool of HBsAg carriers because of the vaccination which helped in reducing the HBsAg carrier rate among the non-vaccinated also, probably due to an increase in herd immunity and reduction in the source of infection. Further studies need to be done to evaluate long term benefits of hepatitis B vaccination among these tribes.

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