ANNALS OF HEPATOLOGY, vol.11, no.5, pp.672-678, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
Objective. To identify changes in hepatitis B epidemiology after the implementation of the nationwide vaccination program in Turkey, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and related tests performed over a period of 11 years (2000-2010) at a reference centre were retrospectively overviewed and statistically analysed for trends. Results. Assay results for Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and e antigen (HBeAg), Anti-HBs, Anti-HBe, Anti-HBc immunoglobulins and HBV DNA as well as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gama-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) levels, obtained via standardized commercial assays were included in the analysis. Overall, a stable anti-HBs incidence (43.6%) and male predominance in infected individuals were noted. Total Anti-HBc was detected in 43.3% of the Anti-HBs reactive population, demonstrating that the immunity against HBV has still been acquired through virus exposure. An intermediate HBsAg seroprevalence of 6.0% was observed with a significant decrease from 12.3% to 5.0% from 2000 to 2010. Anti-HBe positive infections were more frequent than those with HBe antigenemia (77.1% vs. 18.5%) with a notable increase from 2000 to 2003. HBV DNA was detected in 23.6-25.6% with serological markers of viral replication and was more prevalent in HBeAg positive individuals in parallel with AST, ALT and GGT levels. Evidence for horizontal transfer as the major transmission route was revealed with a reduction of childhood HBV infections, attributable to the ongoing vaccination efforts.