METHODOLOGY: Cord blood samples from a pilot screening programme for congenital hypothyroidism in 1995 at Ipoh city and surrounding district hospitals were screened anonymously for HIV 1 and 2. HIV status was determined using chemiluminescent technology. Positive samples were retested using the Genelavia Mixt assay.
RESULTS: A total of 4927 samples were tested. The ethnic breakdown included 51.7% Malays, 18.9% Chinese, 14.3% Indian, 2.3% Others and 12.9% unknown. The geographical distribution of samples was 73.9% urban, 24.2% rural and 1.9% unknown. The seroprevalence of HIV positivity was 3.25 per 1000 deliveries (95% CI: 1.92-5.16). Seroprevalence was higher for samples from rural and Malay mothers.
CONCLUSION: The high seroprevalence in this study suggests that the spread of HIV is far wider than that anticipated by mandatory national reporting. It also supports antenatal screening and the use of antiretroviral therapy as an important strategy to reduce perinatal transmission.
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.