Screening of serum samples from 836 apparently healthy school girls with sound socioeconomical background from Viqarunnessa Noon Girls' School in Dhaka, was done for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by Latex quick test and all Latex quick test positive samples were rechecked by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Thus the prevalence of HBsAg among healthy female school age children was 2.3% by the former method and 0.8% by the latter. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is more common in Bangladesh but HBsAg prevalence rate in normal school age children of the present study was much lower than reported from many other parts of the world. The reason of this fact presumably was that in this study serum specimens were collected from apparently healthy female children belonging to high socioeconomic status in Bangladesh. Further studies are appreciated to determine the prevalence of HBsAg among healthy low socioeconomic school age children and to investigate HBsAg subtypes and possible main mode of transmission of HBV in Bangladeshi population.
PIP: A 1995 study investigated the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in 836 students 6-15 years of age attending the Viqarunnessa Noon Girls' School in Dhaka, Bangladesh. All children were of high socioeconomic status and apparently healthy at the time of serum collection. HBsAg prevalence was 2.3% (19 cases) by the Latex quick test but fell to 0.8% (7 cases) when positive samples were rechecked by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. This was the first study to explore HBsAg prevalence among school-age children in Bangladesh. Comparison of these findings with studies conducted in other countries indicates that urban Bangladeshi children from high socioeconomic status backgrounds have significantly lower HBsAg prevalence than their counterparts in Egypt, India, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tanzania, Senegal, Romania, and Cameroon (range, 5.0-23.2%). Further studies are recommended, however, to determine the HBsAg prevalence among schoolchildren of low socioeconomic status and investigate the HBsAg subtypes and main modes of hepatitis B virus transmission in Bangladesh.