Chronic hepatitis B infection in adolescents who received primary infantile vaccination

Hepatology. 2013 Jan;57(1):37-45. doi: 10.1002/hep.25988. Epub 2012 Dec 28.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global health issue. Universal infantile hepatitis B (HB) vaccination is very efficacious. However, HBV infections among those immunized subjects have been reported. The long-term efficacy of postnatal passive-active HB vaccination in high-risk subjects is not well explored. A total of 8,733 senior high school students who were born after July 1987 were assayed for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies to HBsAg (anti-HBs). The overall HBsAg and anti-HBs-positive rates were 1.9% and 48.3%, respectively. The HBsAg-positive rate was 15% in HB immunoglobulin (HBIG) recipients (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 15.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.99-22.22). Among students who did not receive HBIG, there was a significantly negative association between HB vaccination dosage and HBsAg-positive rate (P for trend = 0.011). Adjusted ORs for those who received 4, 3, and 1 to 2 doses were 1.00, 1.52 (95% CI: 0.91-2.53), and 2.85 (95% CI: 1.39-5.81), respectively. Among HBIG recipients, the HBsAg-positive rate was significantly higher in subjects with maternal hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positivity and who received HBIG off-schedule. A booster dose of HB vaccination was administered to 1974 HBsAg- and anti-HBs-negative subjects. Prebooster and a postbooster blood samples were drawn for anti-HBs quantification. The proportions of postbooster anti-HBs titer <10 mIU/mL was 27.9%. Subjects with prebooster anti-HBs titers of 1.0-9.9 mIU/mL had significantly higher postbooster anti-HBs titers than those with prebooster anti-HBs titers of <1.0 mIU/mL (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Having maternal HBeAg positivity is the most important determinant for HBsAg positivity in adolescents who received postnatal passive-active HB vaccination 15 years before. A significant proportion of complete vaccinees may have lost their immunological memories against HBsAg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Treatment Failure


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines