INTRODUCTION: There have been no published data on the transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among children of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive mothers in Malaysia.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study of all the children of HBsAg-positive mothers who delivered at the University of Malaya Medical Centre between 1993 and 2000.
RESULTS: A total of 60 HBsAg-positive mothers and their 154 children participated in the study. HBsAg was detected in four children (2.6%) while IgG antibody to the hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc IgG) was detected in seventeen children (11.0%). The mother's age at childbirth was significantly lower in the children with detectable HBsAg (22.5±6.1 years vs. 29.7±4.5 years, p=0.043) and anti-HBc IgG (26.6±6.1 years vs. 30.0±4.3 years, p=0.004). Children born in the 1980s were significantly more likely to have detectable HBsAg (18.8% vs. 0.7%, p=0.004) and anti-HBc IgG (37.5% vs. 8.0%, p=0.000) compared with those born later. All children with detectable HBsAg were born via spontaneous vaginal delivery, and hepatitis B immunoglobulin was either not given or the administration status was unknown. The majority of mothers with chronic HBV infection (70.4%) were not under any regular follow-up for their chronic HBV infection and the main reason was the lack of awareness of the need to do so (47.4%).
CONCLUSION: Transmission of HBV infection among children of HBsAg-positive mothers in Malaysia is low. However, attention needs to be given to the high rate of HBsAgpositive mothers who are not on any regular follow-up.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.