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February 1988

Prevalence of HBsAg in Asymptomatic Carrier Mothers and Vertical Transmission in South India

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(2):124-125. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150020018011

Sir.—Conflicting results have been reported regarding infection of infants by mothers who are symptom free chronic hepatitis B carriers.1 The public health implication of neonatal hepatitis B will be directly related to local prevalence of maternal infection. Survival of hepatitis B virus is ensured by the reservoirs of carriers, of whom there are estimated to be 200 million or more in the world.2

Prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) varies from country to country and depends on geographic, ethnic, genetic, and socioeconomic factors. In India, being a very large country with varying socioeconomic factors and ethnicity, the pattern of prevalence varies from the north to the south.3

Subjects and Methods.—The present study was conducted on a total of 400 apparently healthy pregnant women admitted to Women and Children Hospital, Davangere, India, at the time of labor. The hospital is situated in the heart of