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Abstract

Background

Georgia has adopted the World Health Organization European Region’s and global goals to eliminate viral hepatitis. A nationwide serosurvey among adults in 2015 showed 2.9% prevalence for hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg) and 25.9% for antibodies against HBV core antigen (anti-HBc). HBV infection prevalence among children had previously not been assessed.

Aim

We aimed to assess HBV infection prevalence among children and update estimates for adults in Georgia.

Methods

This nationwide cross-sectional serosurvey conducted in 2021 among persons aged ≥ 5 years used multi-stage stratified cluster design. Participants aged 5–20 years were eligible for hepatitis B vaccination as infants. Blood samples were tested for anti-HBc and, if positive, for HBsAg. Weighted proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for both markers.

Results

Among 5–17 year-olds (n = 1,473), 0.03% (95% CI: 0–0.19) were HBsAg-positive and 0.7% (95% CI: 0.3–1.6) were anti-HBc-positive. Among adults (n = 7,237), 2.7% (95% CI: 2.3–3.4) were HBsAg-positive and 21.7% (95% CI: 20.4–23.2) anti-HBc-positive; HBsAg prevalence was lowest (0.2%; 95% CI: 0.0–1.5) among 18–23-year-olds and highest (8.6%; 95% CI: 6.1–12.1) among 35–39-year-olds.

Conclusions

Hepatitis B vaccination in Georgia had remarkable impact. In 2021, HBsAg prevalence among children was well below the 0.5% hepatitis B control target of the European Region and met the ≤ 0.1% HBsAg seroprevalence target for elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HBV. Chronic HBV infection remains a problem among adults born before vaccine introduction. Screening, treatment and preventive interventions among adults, and sustained high immunisation coverage among children, can help eliminate hepatitis B in Georgia by 2030.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.30.2200837
2023-07-27
2024-02-28
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.30.2200837
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